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Rough Seas Prevent Reopening of N. Oregon Coast Clamming

Published 09/30/23 at 6:27 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Seaside, Oregon) – Razor clamming at Seaside to Warrenton remains closed this week, although it was scheduled to open on October 1. Every July, Clatsop Beach goes through a clamming conservation closure to maintain the thick population, and then is supposed to reopen on October 1. (Photo Seaside Aquarium)

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However, one biotoxin test came up above the safe level threshold, and two tests at safe levels are required to open an area. A second test was not made because of dangerous surf conditions this last week, said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

ODFW said it should be able to test the area again next week, as conditions on the Oregon coast have calmed. However, two consecutive tests must come up safe, and that means at least two more weeks of closure.

“Once a second sample is below the safety threshold, ODFW and the Oregon Department of Agriculture will announce a reopening,” the agency said.

Clammers can check MyODFW’s ‘Regulation Updates’ tab in the weekly clamming and crabbing recreation report or receive news releases via email.

Currently, all beaches north of Seal Rock (near Newport) to Cannon Beach are closed because of the biotoxin domoic acid. The entire south Oregon coast and areas between Florence and Waldport are open to razor clamming, however.

The last few years have not been good for the reopening at Clatsop Beach, as domoic acid has frequently plagued Oregon and Washington beaches, causing numerous closures. In 2020, the biotoxin closed that area less than a month after reopening, and between the biotoxin and the next conservation closure it did not reopen for well over a year.

This also happened last year, when the biotoxin shut down clamming on Clatsop Beach not long after October 1, and did not open again until early in 2023.

The biotoxin is naturally-occurring in nature and is created by algae that is already in the ocean. If clams or crab containing domoic acid are eaten, it can cause serious illness and even death.

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Photos above, 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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