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Mussel Harvesting Back Open Along Entire Oregon Coast

Published 11/15/22 at 5:09 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Mussel Harvesting Back Open Along Entire Oregon Coast

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(Newport, Oregon) – Harvesting of mussels is back open again on the entire Oregon coast, after various closures starting in September because of the biotoxin domoic acid. Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) made the announcement yesterday after two consecutive weeks of testing showed the toxin below the closure limit. (Above: a sea star chomping on a mussel, courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

Meanwhile, razor clam harvesting remains closed along the entire Oregon coast and Washington coast because of domoic acid. ODFW said they are often slower to clear out the toxin from their tissues.

Bay clam and crab harvesting are open along the Oregon coastline.

ODA will continue testing shellfish for toxins every two weeks, as tides and weather permit. In order to reopen an area that has been closed because of biotoxins there must be two consecutive tests below the limit.

ODFW said there are two main species of mussels along the rocky intertidal areas of the coast.

“Bay mussels (Mytilus edulis) are bluish-black and grow to about 3 inches in length,” ODFW said. “California surf mussels (Mytilus californianus) are brown or black and grow to about 7 inches long.”

To find them, look to the upper tidal zone at low tides. Rocky areas like those at Oceanside and some areas around Cannon Beach should yield some finds.

The technique you should use, according to ODFW, is twisting them off the rocks while pulling – all the time wearing gloves. Immediately pull off the “beard” area off the bottom that had anchored the shellfish to the rocks.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at 503-986-4720, or visit the ODA Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage.

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