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Closures, Delays for Some Crabbing, Clamming, on Oregon Coast; Mussels Return

Published 11/21/2017 at 4:05 AM PDT - Updated 11/21/2017 at 4:35 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Closures, Delays for Some Crabbing on Oregon Coast; Mussels Open Again

(Oregon Coast) – There are currently a complex round of closures, delays and reopenings for crabbing and mussel harvesting on the Oregon coast, along with some restrictions on razor clamming. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) recently implemented and changed some of its recent actions, some of which only affect commercial crabbers. (Above: a mass of crabbing boats off Cannon Beach. Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium).

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Mussel harvesting has reopened on the northern half of the Oregon coast after being shut down in October due to paralytic toxin levels. As a result, all mussel harvesting by the public is now open along the entire Oregon coast. The closure area was from the northernmost tip of Oregon down to the north jetty at Newport.

Meanwhile, razor clamming for the bottom half of the coast is still closed – but everything north of Cascade Head near Lincoln City is open. The harvesting of razor clams south of that area – from Lincoln City down to the California border - remains closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

The recreational harvest of bay clams remains open along the entire Oregon coast.

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

Late last week, ODFW closed all recreational and commercial crabbing from Takenitch Creek near Reedsport up to Cape Foulweather near Newport. The closure is due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes crab harvested in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.

This closure is an extension of the previous order which was from the north jetty of Coos Bay to the California border. Crab harvesting is still open from the north jetty of Coos Bay to Tahkenitch Creek, and the upper third of the Oregon coast - north of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River.

Recreational crabbing in the ocean waters was closed all along the state's waters on October 15.

Despite the closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers.

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

However, the annual opening of commercial Dungeness crabbing on December 1 has been delayed due to testing that shows crabs are too low in meat yield. Opening of the season will now happen on December 16.

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Each year, the target opening for the season is always December 1, but delays are sometimes instituted to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and avoid wastage of the resource. Testing in early November showed that crab meat quality standards would not be up to standard on that opening date. This postponement allows crabs to fill their shells with more meat.

ODFW will run another series of tests in early December and then determine if the target date of December 16 can still be met.

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Photos below courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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