The Oregon Department of Agriculture has announced the reopening of commercial and recreational harvest of clams on the North Coast with the exception of commercial harvesting of clams in Tillamook Bay.

As a precautionary measure to minimize exposure to potentially contaminated waters because of coastal flooding, ODA closed harvest of shellfish last week from the beaches, bays, and estuaries from Yaquina Bay north to the Columbia River. Sampling and testing indicates that water quality has returned to pre-flood-event levels.

Recreational mussel harvesting remains closed along coastal beaches, rock, jetties, and at the entrance to bays from north of Siletz Bay to the Columbia River due to elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. That closure, due to naturally-occurring marine toxins, has been in effect since October.

Recreational shellfish harvesting south of Yaquina Bay on the Oregon coast has remained open this fall. Commercial and recreational harvest of Dungeness crab along the north and central coast reopened earlier this week.

ODA reminds recreational harvesters to properly cook shellfish before consumption. Commercial product currently on the market is considered safe.

ODA will continue to routinely test shellfish for food safety.

? For information, call ODA's shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at (http://oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/shell fish_status.shtml)

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