Mussel shut-down hits entire coast

 fish-wildlife-US-logoOregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have extended the closure of all mussel harvesting to cover the entire Oregon Coast, from the Columbia River to the California border. The closure is due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) and includes mussels on all beaches, rocks, jetties, and bay entrances in this section of the coast.

The original closure was ordered May 30 and has now been extended three times since.

All areas on the Oregon Coast remain open to all other recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting. The current closure only affects mussels.

Shellfish contaminated with PSTs 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. 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.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.

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