The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce the immediate closure of all recreationa crabbing on the southern Oregon coast from Bandon to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes Dungeness and red rock crab harvested in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.
Recreational crab harvesting from Bandon north to the Columbia River (including the Coquille river estuary) remains open in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.
Meanwhile, for commercial crabbing, ODA and ODFW are requiring that all crab harvested from Bandon to the California border be eviscerated (gutted) before it can be deemed safe for consumption. Domoic acid levels are elevated only in crab viscera, or the guts, of crab sampled and tested from this area of the Oregon coast.
For recreational crab harvesters, it is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking, which includes removal and discard of the viscera, internal organs, and gills.
Because of Oregon’ precautionary management of biotoxins, the crab and shellfish products currently being sold in retail markets and restaurants are 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 microscopic 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://ODA.direct/ShellfishClosures.
For commercial crab biotoxin information, go to: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/CrabBiotoxinInfo.aspx.