Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have extended the closure of recreational and commercial mussel harvesting to include the entire Oregon Coast, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border, due to high levels of paralytic shellfish toxins. The closure includes mussels found on the beaches, rocks, jetties, and bay entrances along the Oregon Coast. The closure affects only mussels.

All other recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting is open for the entire Oregon Coast. The original closure was ordered October 18 and covered the south coast from Cape Arago to the California border. Shellfish contaminated with paralytic shellfish toxins can cause minor to severe illness or even death. The symptoms usually begin with tingling of the mouth and tongue. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, paralysis of the arms and legs, and paralysis of the muscles used for breathing.

Cooking will not destroy the shellfish toxins. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins weekly, as tides permit. Reopening of an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.

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