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Washington Coast Halts Razor Clams at Last Minute Due to Marine Toxins

Published 10/21/20 at 5:44 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Washington Coast Halts Razor Clams at Last Minute Due to Marine Toxins

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(Washington Coast) – A set of scheduled razor clam digs on the Washington coast that were to happen today, October 21, have been canceled at the last minute because of increasing levels of domoic acid.

After recent test results, the Washington’s Department of Health (DOH) has determined razor clams have passed the acceptable limit of the biotoxin. As a result, state health officials and shellfish managers closed Washington's ocean beaches to razor clam digging.

All beaches in the state are closed to razor clam digging effective immediately, including digs scheduled for today, Oct. 21 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, and Copalis.

“State shellfish managers will consider openings tentatively scheduled to start October 31, depending on the results of upcoming marine toxin tests and public health officials’ ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 trends,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW’s coastal region director.

DOH said more announcements will be next week on the future digs scheduled for the Washington coast. There is another set of digs scheduled throughout November, some of which may or may not happen depending on test results. ( Washington Coast Resumes Razor Clam Digging, Tentative Schedules Through Dec)

Domoic acid is a natural toxin that is created when there are large amounts of certain types of marine algae. This can be harmful and even fatal if consumed by humans.

More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at all ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW's domoic acid webpage at this link.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Meanwhile, razor clam digging is open along the entire Oregon coast, which includes the Seaside to Warrenton areas, which have the largest razor clam populations in the state. Oregon officials opened up razor clam digging to those living out-of-state a month ago, which had been closed to non-residents because of COVID restrictions. Return of Clamming to N. Oregon Coast, Opening Back Up to Non-Residents

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