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Razor Clamming Closed on N. Oregon Coast, Delays Annual Reopening at Seaside

Published 09/27/22 at 5:44 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Razor Clamming Closed on N. Oregon Coast, Delays Annual Reopening at Seaside

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(Oregon Coast) – The Oregon coast's most prolific area for razor clamming appears as if it will remain closed to the activity for awhile longer. (Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) this week shut down razor clamming on the entire upper third of the Oregon coast, from Cascade Head (just north of Lincoln City) up to the Washington border.

Domoic acid, a naturally-occurring biotoxin, is to blame. Tests run by the state agencies show levels are above the threshold for human consumption. Eating razor clams with this poison could make you extremely sick and could cause death. Domoic acid and paralytic shellfish toxin are produced by algae and originates in the ocean.

Above Seaside, photo copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection

This comes just as Clatsop beaches were about to reopen harvesting of the critter, after the annual conservation closure that normally happens from July through the end of September. October 1 is normally the date it opens back up, but at least two tests showing safe levels of domoic acid are required to reopen an area after it's been affected by biotoxin.

State scientists conduct these tests about twice a month, which means the region of Seaside through Warrenton will miss the usual reopening date by at least two weeks.

Clatsop beaches are the Oregon coast's most populated area with razor clams, accounting for more than 90 percent of the state's entire numbers. The closed area now includes all of Clatsop County and Tillamook County, including Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Oceanside, Pacific City and Neskowin.

Razor clamming is open from Lincoln City south to the California border. Good areas for this include Waldport and Bandon.

Meanwhile, mussel harvesting remains closed from the northern tip of the Oregon coast down through the northern side of the Yachats River. This is due to a marine biotoxin paralytic poison found in the mussels. Harvesting them remains open from the south side of the Yachats River down through Brookings.

“Recreational bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast,” said ODFW in a press release.

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

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Photos above courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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