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Mussel Harvesting Reopens on Upper Third of Oregon Coast After Biotoxin Closure

Published 10/29/22 at 6:33 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Mussel Harvesting Reopens on Upper Third of Oregon Coast After Biotoxin Closure

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – Mussel harvesting on the northern part of the Oregon coast is back open, after a month-long closure due to marine biotoxins. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) reopened the activity from the Washington border to the north side of Siletz Bay in Lincoln City – essentially the upper third of the coast. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection: tidepool life at Oceanside)

Recent shellfish examples are showing safe levels of domoic acid there. Lifting this closure required two weeks of testing in the clear.

However, mussel harvesting remains closed on the central and southern Oregon coast, from the south side of Siletz Bay to the California border near Brookings.

Digging for razor clams is still closed along the entirety of the coastlines, also due to high levels of domoic acid.

ODFW said recreational harvesting of bay clams and crabs is still wide along the whole of the coast. ODA continues testing of all shellfish twice per month, weather and tides permitting.

Recreational bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit.

In order to reopen mussels or razor clams, biotoxins must be below unsafe levels for two consecutive test. Click here for ODFW recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.

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 at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA shellfish biotoxin closures webpage.

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