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Year's Razor Clamming Closure Ends for N. Oregon Coast's Clatsop Beach

Published 09/27/21 at 3:56 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Year's Razor Clamming Closure Ends for N. Oregon Coast's Clatsop Beach

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(Seaside, Oregon) – It's essentially nothing but good news for razor clam enthusiasts this week as biotoxin levels had dropped enough to open up almost the entire Oregon coast to recreational harvesting. (Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

Now, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) have announced that Clatsop beaches will reopen October 1 as they normally do after the annual conservational closure that started in July.

It had been a long, dark year for razor clamming, with the marine boitoxin levels of demoic acid keeping much of the Northwest's beaches closed to the activity. That situation remained all year in the Seaside / Warrenton area – Clatsop Beach – and then came the conservational closure in July.

Along with Monday's announcement, ODFW added that razor clams are at their highest numbers since 2004.

“Extremely high juvenile recruitment and good survival rates of both juvenile and mature clams over the 2020-21 winter should lead to a very promising season,” ODFW said. “This year's population has a large number of mature clams that average over four inches with a tremendous number of juvenile clams under three-and-a-half inches.”

Last week, the rest of the coast opened back up to clamming after an extended closure due to domoic acid.

In order to increase your chances of digging up only mature, larger clams, ODFW advised you look for the largest razor clam “shows.”

A show is defined as a dimple or hole in the wet sand, which is a result of the clam's neck being near the surface. You can also pound a shovel in the sand, which can cause the razor clam to retract its siphon, creating the dimple.

ODFW said it's important to remember the daily harvest limit is the first 15 razor clams dug regardless of size or condition. Clammers must have their own container, dig their razor clams and only one daily limit per person is allowed.

Clatsop beaches stretch some 18 miles between the Columbia River and Tillamook Head, and include the beaches of Seaside, Gearhart and Warrenton. The area has some 90 percent of Oregon's razor clam population, and it's the most popular for the activity.

Each year since 1967, ODFW closes Clatsop beaches to razor clam harvest July 15 – Sept. 30. This conservation measure prevents disturbance of the young clams, increases chances of good survival rates, and helps ensure future harvest. During the closure, ODFW shellfish biologists conduct stock assessment surveys to determine population health and status. Learn more about the conservation closure on ODFW's video.

Other areas that are good for clamming include Newport's Agate Beach, North Jetty and South Beach, as well as Cannon Beach, Cape Meares and Yachats' northern edges.

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Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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