SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce that additional areas have been added to the ocean and bay recreational crab fishery along the southern Oregon coast. The recreational crab fishery is now open from the north jetty of the Umpqua River (including Winchester Bay) south to the California border. On the north coast, the recreational crab fishery is open from Cape Lookout north to, and including, the Columbia River.
The area between Cape Lookout and the north jetty of the Umpqua River will remain closed to ocean and bay recreational crabbing due to elevated levels of domoic acid detected in the viscera of Dungeness crab. The closure includes popular recreational crabbing spots in Siletz Bay, Yaquina Bay, Alsea Bay, and the Siuslaw River.
Changes to the status of the ocean commercial fishery in the region between Cape Blanco and the OR/WA border will be considered next week upon completion of additional domoic acid testing from the Newport area, and 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 at https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx