SALEM, Ore. — All restrictions on recreational crabbing have been lifted along the entire Oregon coast effective immediately, according to both the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).
"Crab samples taken from the area of Cape Blanco, north of Port Orford, to the California border indicate that levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid have dropped below the closure limit," ODFW said in a statement on Thursday.
Regulations require that two consecutive toxin tests return at acceptable levels before officials can open a previously closed region.
Nonetheless, ODFW said, it's always best to "eviscerate" crabs and remove the guts — sometimes called butter — prior to cooking.
"When whole crab are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach into the cooking liquid. It is recommended to discard the cooking liquid, and do not use it in other dishes, such as sauces, broths, soups, roux, etc. The consumption of crab viscera is not recommended," the agency said.
Both ODA and ODFW will be continuing to minor biotoxin levels in crab and shellfish in the meantime, making sure that "concentrations remain below the closure limit."
For up-to-date recreational shellfish and crabbing information, you can call ODA's shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 before crabbing or clamming or visit the ODA recreational shellfish biotoxins closures webpage.
For commercial crabbing, ODA and ODFW have lifted the requirement that all crab harvested from Cape Blanco to the California border be eviscerated (gutted). An evisceration requirement will remain in place for all crab harvested from any area outside of Oregon with crab viscera samples for domoic acid of 30 ppm or higher, which includes all crab harvested off California at this time. For commercial crabbing information visit the ODA commercial crab biotoxin information webpage.