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Closure of Razor Clamming on N. Oregon Coast Begins July 15

Published 07/11/2019 at 5:53 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Closure of Razor Clamming on N. Oregon Coast Begins July 15

(Seaside, Oregon) – The annual big bummer of summer on the north Oregon coast begins this week: the shutting down of razor clamming on Clatsop beaches. Every summer, clamming in the area from Tillamook Head to the mouth of Columbia is closed, beginning July 15 through September 30. Meanwhile, one area of the southern coast is back open to harvesting after a recent closure. (Photo above courtesy Seaside Aquarium).

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Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has enacted this closure from Seaside northward since 1967, affecting 18 miles of Oregon coast, which actually happens to have the largest population of razor clams in the entire state. Close to 90 percent of the entire population lives beneath these sands.

The regulation has been in place to protect the newly-set young clams from harvesters, ensuring the population remains stable by giving them a chance to establish themselves during summer. The clams need to grow.

During this closure period, ODFW conducts stock assessments of razor clams in that area. In 2018, observations showed the clams were only about two to three inches, too small to be harvested by commercial clammers and also not desirable to recreational clammers. That year provided a bad one: the closure lasted into early 2019.

ODFW said razor clams finally began growing at a satisfactory rate and by spring of this year harvesting was reopened.

“By the middle of May 2019, razor clams on Clatsop Beach averaged four inches and clammers were having great success throughout the rest of the season, averaging over 12 clams per person,” ODFW said.

Matt Hunter, ODFW’s Shellfish and Phytoplankton Project leader, said it’s an ongoing concern.

“We want to ensure that the Clatsop beaches continue to provide a great opportunity for razor clam harvesters,” Hunter said. “Not disturbing the young razor clams increases the chance of good recruitment, so we thank everyone for respecting this annual closure.”

Recreational razor clamming is still open on all other beaches south of Seaside. A recent closure on the southern Oregon coast is now over: razor clamming is back open after elevated levels of domoic acid toxin were found in the area from Cape Blanco to the California border.

ODFW said that aside from Seaside and Warrenton, the best beaches for harvesting are in the Newport area. The most consistent producers are Agate Beach, North Jetty and South Beach. Other beaches that can produce razor clams include Cannon Beach, Cape Meares and Yachats Beach.

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. Hotels in Seaside - Where to eat - Seaside Maps and Virtual Tours




Clamming photos below courtesy Seaside Aquarium






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