Story by the Oregon Department of Agriculture
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce an advisory for all recreationally caught crab taken between Cape Arago, south of Coos Bay, and the California border. All crabs recreationally harvested should be eviscerated prior to eating due to high levels of domoic acid in the viscera, also referred to as “butter” or guts. This includes crab harvested in the bays and estuaries, and in the open ocean, off docks, piers and jetties. Crab meat is not typically affected by this level of toxin.
Crab harvested recreationally from Cape Arago north to the Columbia River do not fall under this advisory, although it is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to eating them. Evisceration includes removal and discard of the internal organs and gills.
Harvesting of mussels remains closed from the mouth of the Yachats River in Lincoln County to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes mussels on all beaches, rocks, jetties and bay entrances in this section of the coast.
Meanwhile, all razor clamming remains closed along the entire Oregon coast because of elevated levels of domoic acid.
Coastal scallops are not affected by these closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally caught scallops is not recommended.
Recreational mussel harvesting is open from the Columbia River south to the mouth of the Yachats River.
Recreational harvesting of bay clams remains open along the entire coast.
Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers.
Domoic acid or Amnesic Shellfish toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment. ODA will continue to test for toxins in the coming weeks. Removal of the advisory 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 at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx