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Razor Clamming Reopens on Central Oregon Coast: Lincoln City to Seal Rock

Published 3/16/24 at 5:35 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Razor Clamming Reopens on Central Oregon Coast

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – After being shut down for ten days, razor clamming is back open on the central Oregon coast, from Lincoln City down to Seal Rock. Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) made the announcement late this week after closing down the activity due to unsafe levels of a biotoxin earlier this month. (Above: Newport - Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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“Recent razor clam samples indicate levels of domoic acid (a marine biotoxin) are below the limit for two consecutive weeks,” ODFW said.

This now opens up the area from Cape Blanco (north of Port Orford) through to the Washington border. However, the recreational harvesting of these clams is still closed from Cape Blanco down to the California border.

Open areas now include Bandon, Reedsport, Coos Bay, Florence, Waldport, Newport and Lincoln City, as well as northward into Tillamook and Clatsop counties.

The beaches of Warrenton and Seaside – often called Clatsop Beach – contain the highest population of razor clams, accounting for 90 percent of them in Oregon.

You can still go crabbing throughout the entire Oregon coast, as well as harvesting bay clams or mussels.

ODA continues to test shellfish at least twice each month – as weather and tides permit. In order to reopen a closed area, it must be below the unsafe threshold for two consecutive weeks.

Domoic acid is naturally occurring in the ocean, created by algae that can bloom in heavy amounts off the Oregon coast (or Washington or California).

Incidents of closures due to the biotoxin have increased in frequency and grown longer in recent years, which scientists believe comes from changes in the ocean allowing more of the algae – an effect of climate change.

In 2017, NOAA and OSU published a report showing domoic acid can, in some instances, be related to the warmer waters being seen in the region. The work was led by OSU researcher Morgaine McKibben. They found a direct link from "domoic acid concentrations in shellfish to ocean conditions caused by warm water phases of natural climate event cycles like Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and El Nino,” said McKibben.

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

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

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Photos below courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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