The Oregon Department of Agriculture is now operating a new toll-free hotline for information related to recreational shellfish harvesting along the Oregon Coast. By calling (800) 448-2474, recreational shellfish harvesters can check on the status of health-related closures that would prohibit harvest activity in a particular location. ODA frequently issues closures because of toxins or other types of contamination that make shellfish unsafe for human consumption.

Examples of the type of information include:

• Closure of coastal areas to shellfish harvesting due to the presence of marine toxins such as domoic acid or paralytic shellfish poisoning, also known as red tide.

• Temporary warning to thoroughly cook clams taken from an area affected by a sewage spill.

• Notice of extended closures due to the retention of shellfish toxins.

Some closure information on the hotline may also apply to commercial harvest of shellfish in Oregon. More detailed information about shellfish closures will be available on the ODA Web site: (www.oda.state.or.us/fsd/sea/status.html)

ODA routinely samples and test shellfish on the coast for the presence of toxins. In addition, ODA monitors bays and other shellfish growing areas for water quality.

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