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Razor Clam Ban Expands on Southern Oregon Coast

Published 08/17/2019 at 5:33 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Razor Clam Ban Expands on Southern Oregon Coast

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(Gold Beach, Oregon) – A second closure of razor clamming on the southern Oregon coast is now in effect, prohibiting recreational harvesting from the south jetty of the Umpqua River down to the California border. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced the closure on Friday, due to higher-than-usual levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid. This expands another earlier closure on the south coast from Cape Blanco to the border. (Photo above courtesy Seaside Aquarium).

Also still in effect is the razor clamming closure on the north Oregon coast from Tillamook Head at Seaside up to the Columbia River. This is the annual conservation closure and not due to biotoxins, put in place to ensure the full maturation of the local clam population.

All beaches south of there, - all the way to the Umpqua River – are open to razor clamming. This includes Florence, Waldport, Newport, Netarts, Rockaway Beach and Cannon Beach, among others.

Mussel harvesting, crabbing and bay clamming is open along the entire Oregon coast. Coastal scallops are not affected by these closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. Crab, bay clams and oysters are also not affected by this closure and are safe to eat. Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers.

While the Clatsop beach area (Seaside to the Columbia River) is where over 90 percent of Oregon’s clam population resides, the central coast has the next best situation in terms of numbers. However, the area is experiencing its ups and downs at the moment, according to Oregon officials.

“For the Central Coast area, diggers report mixed success at Newport beaches, with more limits at North Jetty and Agate Beach,” ODFW said. “South Beach has been slow and clammers report difficulty seeing shows.”

The presence of domoic acid will make humans sick if the clam is eaten. It is produced by algae and originates in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit. Reopening of an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.

For more information, call ODA's shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Closures webpage.

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