Game wardens seize illegally obtained seafood at South Texas border crossing

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Plastic bag containing seafood harvested and imported contrary to Texas law encountered by CBP agriculture specialists at Hidalgo International Bridge. (CBP)

EL PASO, Texas, (Border Report) — Border officers stopped a shipment of illegally harvested seafooon May 13 at a South Texas port of entry.

A 49-year-old woman arrived with two ice chests at the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge in Hidalgo, Texas. During a secondary inspection, agriculture specialists found “significant quantities” of raw oysters, crab, and shrimp, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

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Border officers contacted game wardens with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, who would not allow the aquatic product into the state because the woman — a U.S. citizen — did not have a valid fishing license, tag or permit from where the seafood was acquired.

Additionally, game wardens advised that consuming illegal and uncertified oysters poses a potential health risk to the public. The seafood can be infected with vibrio, a foodborne bacteria commonly associated with eating undercooked seafood.

“Our agriculture specialists play a key role in protecting our American agriculture industry and, simultaneously, they encounter uncertified seafood products acquired in possible violation of state law that can potentially be hazardous as well,” Port Director Carlos Rodriguez said.

Games wardens confiscated the seafood and cited the woman for improper importation.

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