Oregon coast crab closure extended as toxin creeps north

A portion of the central Oregon coast has been added to a crab harvesting closure as toxic domoic acid creeps north from California.

It’s the third time an Oct. 20 crabbing closure has been extended to cover more of the coast.

Commercial and recreational crabbing now is banned from the California border to the north jetty of Coos Bay and from Tahkenitch Creek, near Winchester Bay, to Cape Foulweather, near Newport.

Crabbing remains open from the north jetty of Coos Bay to Tahkenitch Creek and from Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River.

State wildlife officiials also announced a delay from Dec. 1 to Dec. 16 for commercial crabbing. This will allow the crabs to develop more meat, officials said.

Domoic acid is produced by algae and originates in the ocean. It can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can cause dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.

Crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe to eat, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a news release.

Health officials recommend that crab always be eviscerated before cooking. Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at 800-448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx

tloew@statesmanjournal.com, 503-399-6779 or follow at Twitter.com/Tracy_Loew

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