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Razor Clamming Reopens on Central Oregon Coast - North Area Still Closed

Published 06/12/21 at 5:30 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Razor Clamming Reopens on Central Oregon Coast - North Area Still Closed

(Newport, Oregon) – Three fourths of the Oregon coast is now back open for razor clam harvesting, with the central Oregon coast being reopened this week by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

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Lincoln County and the southern edge of Tillamook County were opened back up, leaving everything from Cape Lookout down through the southern Oregon coast available for the recreational activity. The most recent shellfish samples take by state health authorities indicate levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid have fallen below the alert level.

Still closed due to the biotoxin is the region from Cape Lookout north to the Columbia River, which has had incredibly high levels this year. Clatsop Beach (from Seaside to the edge of the Columbia) is the most populated area of the coastline for razor clams, with about 90 percent of the state's clams there. That area and much of the Washington coast have been dealing with various clam shut downs for a long time. Earlier this season, ODFW admitted to Oregon Coast Beach Connection it's not likely Clatsop Beach will get to reopen before its annual conservation closure, where the area puts a halt on clamming from July through September to maintain the population.

Click here for a map of the open and closed areas.

“With a sample below the closure threshold two weeks ago, we were hopeful Clatsop beaches would reopen this weekend, but that's not the case,” said Matt Hunter, ODFW Shellfish Project Leader. “However, Newport area beaches are now open so folks have more areas on the coast to razor clam.”

Meanwhile, the Washington coast has shut down clamming for the season.

The closure threshold for domoic acid in razor clams is 20 ppm (parts per million). Clatsop beach samples were 33 ppm.

There are other decent razor clam harvesting areas, especially on the south coast. ODFW suggested beaches in Gold Beach, Bandon, and Winchester Bay among others.

Meanwhile all other types of bay clam harvesting and crabbing remain open along the entire coastline.

“Coastal scallops are not affected by biotoxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten,” ODFW said. “ODA does not recommend eating whole scallops. Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers.”

Paralytic shellfish toxin and domoic acid toxin are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.

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.

Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.

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