The Oregon Department of Agriculture announces the closure of recreational mussel harvesting from Tillamook Head south to Heceta Head, about 13 miles north of Florence in Lane County on the central Oregon Coast, due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxins. The closure includes mussels found on the beaches, rocks, jetties, and bay entrances in this section of the Oregon Coast.
The closure does not affect recreational clam harvesting on the north coast. Coastal scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of recreationally caught whole scallops is not recommended. Crab are not affected by this level of toxin and are safe to eat.
All areas on the Oregon Coast north of Tillamook Head and south of Heceta Head remain open to all recreational shellfish harvesting.
Shellfish contaminated with paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) can cause minor to severe illness or even death. The symptoms usually begin with tingling of the mouth and tongue. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, paralysis of the arms and legs, and paralysis of the muscles used for breathing.
Cooking will not destroy the shellfish toxins.
Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins weekly, as tides permit. Reopening of an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.
For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures Web page at ODA shellfish closures.