Mussel harvest still closed on South Coast

CHARLESTON, Ore. -- High levels of paralytic shellfish toxins found in mussels have kept harvesting closed for the last two months.

Now, parts of the coast are open, but that's not the case here in Coos County.

Scott Groth, an ODFW shellfish biologist, says our area is still closed. "Closed right now is mussels from Cape Arago south."

That closure extends clear to the California border.

"We had more of the phytoplankton that produces that toxin here than the other places," Groth said.

Keeping an eye on toxins in mussles is a good way to keep other fisheries, like the popular bay clams, safe and open for harvesting. "It is a really good indicator if it's safe for other animals, so of the numbers got very very high in mussels, we would test inside the bay," said Groth.

Officials say touching mussels shouldn't get you sick, it's eating them that could be fatal.