Due to Friday’s shipping collision and chemical release in northwestern Galveston Bay, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is advising people not to fish or eat any seafood from the portions of Galveston and Trinity bays north of a line from the end of the Texas City Dike to Smith Point.
While the spill is not affecting the entire area at this time, changing tidal and weather conditions mean different parts of that area could be affected in the future. DSHS reminds everyone to avoid any fish or shellfish that has an oily or chemical look or smell.
The agency is taking the additional step of temporarily closing private oyster harvesting areas in Galveston Bay. Because oyster season is closed, harvesting is not open to the public at this time.
Do not attempt to handle or remove dead wildlife or marine life. Instead, attempt to identify the species, estimate the number of dead and call the wildlife line at 979-215-8835.
The chemical involved, a gasoline additive called reformate, evaporates quickly and is not expected to accumulate in fish tissue once it’s gone from the water, so any impact on seafood should be resolved in the coming days or weeks.
Exposure to the chemical vapor does not pose a long-term health concern, but it can cause short-term effects like headache, nausea, and eye irritation in people who come into contact with it. Anyone experiencing health effects should contact their health care provider. People with questions may contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.
DSHS will continue to monitor the situation and update guidance as the situation changes.