The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce that the ocean and bay recreational crab fishery is now open in all areas along the Oregon coast. Recreational crabbing was previously closed in many areas due to elevated levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab viscera. The most recent tests show levels of domoic acid are safe in all areas tested. The commercial fishery for Dungeness crab in Oregon waters south of Cape Blanco began on Dec. 18.
Changes to the status of the ocean commercial fishery in the region between Cape Blanco and the OR/WA border will be considered later this week, in consultation with the commercial crab industry and the Washington and California Fish and Wildlife agencies. It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking. Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills.
Despite the closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers because these products were not harvested in areas closed for biotoxins. 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.
For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx