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Latest Oregon Coast Headlines: Freaky Fish, Non-Explosive Whale, Biotoxins, Sandcastles

Published 6/08/24 at 6:25 p.m.
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Oregon Coast) – The first week in June has been a crazy one for Oregon and Washington beaches, with some large-scale changes and rather high-profile natural events. (Photo Seaside Aquarium)

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

The entire Oregon coast and Washington coast are now impacted by marine biotoxin closures, closing off all shellfish gathering.

Health and marine officials in both states have taken this step after at least 21 people fell ill due to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), and levels of the biotoxin were found to be unusually high along most areas.

The outbreak occurred after consuming mussels harvested recreationally from the north Oregon coast since May 25. As a result, mussel harvesting is now prohibited along the entire Oregon coast and Washington coast, along with razor clams and all bay clams. Some of this is out of extreme caution, but wildlife officials say these are “historic” high levels of PSP.

Willapa Bay

Washington's Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor are closed to all shellfish harvesting as well.

Oregon health officials have additionally closed commercial oyster harvesting in Netarts, Umpqu and Tillamook bays. Oregon and Washington Coasts Shut Down All Shellfish Due to 'Historic Levels' of Biotoxin - All beaches, bays on PNW coasts are closed to harvesting

Seaside Aquarium

A remarkable discovery unfolded recently on the north Oregon coast when a massive fish washed up on Gearhart Beach. Initially thought to be a common ocean sunfish (Mola mola), it turned out to be a hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta), a rare species that had been hiding in plain sight. New Zealand-based researcher Marianne Nyegaard confirmed its identity through genetic analysis.

Nyegaard’s groundbreaking work has revealed that this sunfish species, often mistaken for its more common counterpart, has been found as far north as Canada. The 7.3-foot specimen remains on the beach, marking an extraordinary find for the Oregon coast.

It's a wild story: Scientific First for Oregon Coast: New Kind of Sunfish Confirmed at Gearhart - Not a Mola mola but a hoodwinker sunfish

Recently, humorous rumors have circulated online suggesting that officials - specifically Oregon State Parks - are preparing to make the whale washed up near Nehalem go boom. While some of these claims originate from the whimsical “Keep Portland Weird” page, others are memes cleverly designed to resemble news posts.

However, the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) wants to set the record straight. Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

In fact, there’s a more serious concern at play: the impact of large crowds visiting the famous stranded whale. The disturbance caused by well-meaning visitors poses a threat to snowy plover nests, causing OPRD to issue warnings to keep out of that delicate area.

However, this all does bring to light some lesser-known aspects of exploding whale history, like the fact Florence wasn't the first in Oregon to try it (and with similar results). What you don't know will thrill you. No, No One is Blowing Up Manzanita Whale, But More Of This in Oregon Coast History Than You Think - If you like upchucking on the beach and disturbing wildlife and maybe getting fined, you'll love this

Also of importance to those who love the beaches:

Cannon Beach's wildly popular Sandcastle Fest makes its appearance again next week, and for those who want a greater chance at snagging a glass float ball, there's more of them on Lincoln City beaches this week.

128 Extra Glass Floats at Central Oregon Coast's Lincoln City - With a Philanthropic Slant - Now through June 14 there's more, and money donated for every float found

Cannon Beach's Sandcastle Contest June 15 Brings Celebrity David Frei to Oregon Coast - Some activities begin on June 14


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Coastal Spotlight

Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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