WARRENTON - The Oregon Department of Agriculture is extending the area closed to recreational mussel harvesting from Roads End in Lincoln County, south of Cascade Head, to the mouth of the Columbia River due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning or PSP toxins.
The closure includes mussels on the beaches, rocks, jetties, and at the entrance to bays in this section of the Oregon Coast. The announced expansion follows the September 18 closure on the south coast from Bastendorf Beach, near the south jetty at Coos Bay, to the California border, which remains closed.
Recreational mussel harvesting from Bastendorf Beach north to Roads End remains open.
Coastal scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended.
Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples taken from commercial markets show no PSP levels at this time.
Shellfish contaminated with PSP toxins 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, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720 or visit the ODA shellfish closures Web page at: http://oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/shellfish_status.shtml