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Crabbing closures

Crab pots sit in the parking lot at the Charleston Marina Complex in Charleston in November. The commercial and recreational crab fisheries were hit with closures again this year due to increased domoic acid levels in the crab.

Bethany Baker, Bandon Western World

SALEM — The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce the immediate closure of all recreational crabbing on the southern Oregon coast from Cape Blanco 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 Cape Blanco north to the Columbia River 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 Cape Blanco 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’s precautionary management of biotoxins, 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 webpage at http://ODA.direct/ShellfishClosures.

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