The Oregon Department of Agriculture announces the reopening of recreational and commercial harvesting of all shellfish except for mussels from the area north of Siletz Bay in Lincoln County to the mouth of the Columbia River. The area was closed over the weekend due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning or PSP toxins. Levels of PSP in clam samples are now well within the safe range. However, PSP levels in mussels remain high. The closure remains in effect for mussels on the beaches, rocks, jetties, and at the entrance to bays in this section of the Oregon Coast.
All areas south of Siletz Bay on the Oregon coast have remained open to all recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting.
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. 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.