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Annual Razor Clam Closure on N. Oregon Coast Now Through Sept. 30

Published 07/15/22 at 6:05 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Annual Razor Clam Closure on N. Oregon Coast Now Through Sept. 30

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(Seaside, Oregon) – For a little over two months, snagging razor clams is over with for one popular area.

The annual conservation closure of razor clamming begins today on the north Oregon coast, meaning the area from Seaside northward almost to the Washington coast border will be closed to razor clamming until September 30. (Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said the area includes Gearhart and Warrenton. This closure happens every year so newly set young clams can effectively reach maturity along those 18 miles of Oregon coast.

“Protecting these clams is vital to their population and future clamming opportunities as more than 90 percent of the total razor clam harvest in Oregon occurs here,” ODFW said. “The annual closure began in 1967.”

Each year during these closures ODFW assesses the clam stock. Last year's study showed the highest numbers of clams since these surveys began in 2004, which translated to a rich season for recreational clammers. Meanwhile, bay clamming is wide open along the entire Oregon coast and razor clamming is still open from Cannon Beach down through the southern Oregon coast.

While no area is as rich as Seaside to Warrenton, good razor clamming numbers can still be had in some areas.

“The best opportunities outside Clatsop beaches are in the Newport area, with the most consistent producers being Agate Beach, North Jetty, and South Beach,” ODFW said.

Good spots for clamming on the south Oregon coast include Winchester Bay's North Umpqua Spit, Coos Bay's Bastendorff Beach and North Spit, Whiskey Run at Bandon, and the Meyers Creek area near Gold Beach.

2020 wound up a dismal year for razor clamming in this area because of an elongated issue with the biotoxin domoic acid. This was in spite of being a record number of clams in the assessment at the time. Domoic acid is naturally occurring but poisons the meat for human consumption. Clamming opened as usual on October 1 that year, but 30 days later closed because of the health issue. The biotoxin remained all year into July, when the conservation closure kept it shut down in this area.

Razor clamming on Clatsop Beach finally opened in October of 2021.

This annual closure prevents the young clams from being disturbed and also increases their survival rates, ODFW said. This helps ensure future harvests.

Always check for toxin-related closures before harvesting clams or crabs by calling the shellfish safety hotline 1-800-448-2474. Closures are also noted on ODA’S Recreation Shellfish page and on ODFW’s Recreation Report – Clamming and Crabbing Report.

For more information about clamming on the Oregon coast, visit ODFW’s Crabbing and Clamming page online.

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