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Razor Clamming Again Closes on Central Oregon Coast Due to Biotoxin

Published 3/05/24 at 5:15 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Razor Clamming Again Closes on Central Oregon Coast Due to Biotoxin

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Recent razor clam samples along parts of the Oregon coast were found to have an unsafe level of biotoxins, resulting in the closure of recreational gathering of the clams. The area from Cascade Head (just north of Lincoln City) down to Seal Rock is closed to razor clam harvesting for health and safety. (Above: Seal Rock - Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) made the announcement Monday, saying levels of domoic acid were beyond the safety threshold.

This area was only fairly recently reopened back in early December.

Currently, Cape Blanco southward to the California border is shut down as well because of the biotoxin, and has been for awhile. These restricted areas now include Port Orford, Gold Beach, Lincoln City and Newport.

What's still open on the Oregon coast? From Seal Rock to Cape Blanco (near Port Orford) is still available, as is the Washington border through to about Neskowin (immediately north of Cascade Head). Open areas include Coos Bay, Bandon, Florence, Waldport, Pacific City, Rockaway Beach, Seaside and Warrenton.

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.

Harvesting of crabs, mussels and other clams is still open throughout the coastline.

“Domoic acid is produced by algae and originates in the ocean,” ODFW said. “ODA will continue testing for shellfish toxins at least twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.”

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

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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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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