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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Oregon Bans Shellfish Harvesting Due To High Levels Of Toxins

Oregon authorities have expanded shellfish harvesting closures along the state’s entire coastline to include razor clams and bay clams, as already high levels of toxins that have contributed to a shellfish poisoning outbreak continue to rise, the Associated Press (AP) reported.


The shellfish poisoning outbreak has so far sickened at least 31 people.



The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the new closures were due to “historic high levels” of a marine biotoxin known as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).


The move came after state officials closed the whole coast to mussel harvesting last week. Officials have also closed a bay on the state’s southern coast to commercial oyster harvesting, bringing the total of such closures to three.



Paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, is caused by saxitoxin, a toxin produced by algae. People who eat shellfish contaminated with high levels of saxitoxins usually start feeling ill within 30 to 60 minutes.


Symptoms include numbness of the mouth and lips, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat.



Elevated levels of toxins were first detected in shellfish on the state’s central and north coasts on May 17, fish and wildlife officials said.


The shellfish poisoning outbreak has sickened at least 31 people, Jonathan Modie, spokesperson for the Oregon Health Authority, said in an email. Neighboring Washington has also closed the state’s Pacific coastline to the harvesting of shellfish, including mussels, clams, scallops, and oysters, a shellfish safety map produced by the Washington State Department of Health showed.




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