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Mussel harvest closure extended along Oregon Coast

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have extended the closure of all mussel harvesting from the Columbia River to Heceta Head, about 13 miles north of Florence in Lane County on the central Oregon Coast. The closure is due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) and includes mussels on all beaches, rocks, jetties, and bay entrances in this section of the coast.

The original closure was ordered May 30 and covered the coast from the Columbia River to Newport.

All areas on the Oregon Coast south of Heceta Head remain open to all recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting.

Shellfish contaminated with 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. 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.

Media Contact: Judy Dowell at (503) 871-2118.

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