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After 21 Get Sick, Razor Clam, Bay Clam, Oyster and Mussel Closures on Oregon Coast

Published 5/31/24 at 4:25 a.m.
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Oregon Coast) – More than 21 people have become sick from a marine biotoxin because of eating shellfish they harvested along the Oregon coast, part of the reason Oregon officials have closed most kinds of recreational harvesting along the beaches and about half the bays. Some of this is even hitting the commercial industry. (Above: Tillamook Bay / Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODW) announced Thursday a lineup of new closures, after more people were sickened by Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) contained in mussels they had eaten. The biotoxin domoic acid was also detected in other species.

Now, officials have closed all mussel harvesting along the Oregon coast, shut down razor clamming on a slightly more than half the coastline as well as bay clamming.

Testing of mussels along the entire coastline has shown levels of PSP above the limit, ODFW said.

Razor clamming is closed from Yachats to the California border because of PSP as well as domoic acid. This includes the areas of Reedsport, Florence, Coos Bay, Bandon, Gold Beach and Brookings.

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Still open for razor clamming is Yachats to the Washington coast border, which includes the rich population of clams in the Warrenton, Gearhart and Seaside areas. Also still open are Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City and Newport.

Bay clamming is also closed now on about a third of the coast, including Netarts Bay, Tillamook Bay and Nehalem Bay.

“Recreational and commercial bay clam harvesting is closed from the Washington border to Cascade Head for elevated levels of PSP,” ODFW said. “This includes all clam species in the bays. Harvest is open from Cascade Head to the California border."

That means the areas still open for bay clamming include Siletz Bay, Yaquina Bay, Alsea Bay, Winchester Bay, Coos Bay, and those marshlands around Bandon, Gold Beach and Brookings.

Crabbing along the entire Oregon coast is still open.

The biotoxins are now affecting the commercial oyster industry.

“The ODA has also closed commercial oyster harvesting in Netarts and Tillamook bays,” ODFW said.

ODA tests all shellfish for biotoxins at least twice per month, as weather and tides allow. In order to reopen an area, it must test below the closure level twice in a row.

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.

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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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