As levels of paralytic shellfish toxins continue to rise on the south coast, the Oregon Department of Agriculture is reminding the public that recreational mussel harvesting remains closed from Cape Arago in Coos County to the California border. The closure includes mussels found on the beaches, rocks, jetties, and bay entrances in this section of the Oregon Coast.
Recreational mussel harvesting remains open north of Cape Arago. All other recreational shellfish harvesting is open for the entire Oregon Coast.
The original closure was ordered October 18. Sampling and testing this week indicates a sharp rise in the level of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) found in mussels and the risk of severe illness or even death from consuming contaminated mussels is even higher. 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
Media contact: Alex Manderson at (503) 842-2607.PDF version