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Mussel Harvesting Closed on S. Oregon Coast from Bandon to California Due to Shellfish Poison

Published 09/03/23 at 5:07 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Mussel Harvesting Closed on S. Oregon Coast from Bandon to California Due to Shellfish Poison

(Bandon, Oregon) – Mussel harvesting has been closed on part of the south Oregon coast due to a dangerous biotoxin called paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) shut down the activity this week from Bandon down to the California border.

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However, harvesting of mussels remains safe from the north jetty of Bandon's Coquille River to the border of the Washington coast – the vast majority of the Oregon coast.

PSP is more dangerous than the usual biotoxins that hit crab and razor clams, capable of affecting humans within hours of digestion. ODFW said it can cause numbness, disorientation, paralysis and death. The toxin can be found in mussels, bay clams, scallops and oysters, as well as razor clams.

“PSP poisoning is a byproduct of a group of dinoflagellates which produce saxitoxins which affect the nervous system,” ODFW said.

Freezing or cooking the mussels will have no effect on levels of PSP.

Razor clamming is still shut down on more than half of the Oregon coast. Much of that is due to the biotoxin domoic acid, which is affecting everything from Seal Rock (near Waldport) to Cannon Beach. From Seaside to the Washington border, the razor clamming shutdown is because of the annual conservation closure through the end of September, which is there to maintain the rich population of clams in that area.

Meanwhile, bay clam harvesting and crabbing remain open on the entire Oregon coastline. ODA will continue testing for shellfish toxins at least twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.

For more information call ODA's shellfish biotoxin hotline at (800) 448-2474, the ODA Food Safety Program at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures Webpage.

Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules, and limits.

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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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