Mussel harvesting is prohibited along the entire Oregon coast

Oregon authorities have expanded a warning against mussels harvested from the coast.

As of Thursday, the entire Oregon coast is closed to mussel harvesting due to reported cases of paralyzing shellfish poisoning.

Symptoms of eating contaminated mussels appear quickly and include numbness of the mouth and lips, tingling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and, in severe cases, shortness of breath or an irregular heartbeat, The Oregonian/OregonLive wrote Tuesday after reports that 20 people suffered from became ill this weekend due to shellfish poisoning. Nobody died.

However, according to the Oregon Health Authority, the disease can be fatal in children. And naturally occurring toxins from seashells cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing the mollusks.

Judy Dowell of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Program called the closure of the entire coast an “unprecedented event” over the past 10 to 20 years. Health authorities are increasingly closing small parts of the coast for limited periods, she said.

According to the Agriculture Department and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, other closures are also in effect:

  • Razor clam harvesting is closed from the Yachats River to the California border.
  • The bay clam harvest is closed from the Washington border to Cascade Head

Crab fishing is not affected along the coast, state officials said.

— Beth Slovic is deputy editor of the Public Safety and Breaking News team. Reach her at 503-221-8551 or [email protected].

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