December 1-4 razor clam digs cancelled due to marine toxins

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WDFW

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

OLYMPIA--Washington's ocean beaches will remain closed to razor clam harvest until at least December 12 after test results on razor clams dug at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis indicate levels of domoic acid that exceed the threshold set by state public health officials for safe consumption.

“While levels remain too high for safe consumption on Washington’s ocean beaches, those levels have declined since the last test, and we hope to see that trend continue to the point where we can open,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW's domoic acid webpage.

Safe consumption thresholds for domoic acid are set by the Washington Department of Health (DOH).

Razor clam diggers have enjoyed more than 80,000 trips and harvested nearly 1.2 million clams in 2020. The department won’t be able to announce if digs scheduled to start December 12 can move forward until marine toxin test results are conducted by DOH in early December.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind, Regional Director Larry Phillips, Mayor Jerry Phillips of Long Beach and Andi Day, Executive Director of Pacific County Tourism Bureau  hosted an online meeting covering razor clamming and other topics yesterday that is now available at WDFW’s YouTube page.

Public health officials will also be closely monitoring the incidence of COVID-19 throughout the digging season, and WDFW will rely on their guidance when making in-season adjustments to the schedule if necessary to reduce public health risks.

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.

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