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April 09, 1999
Contact: Doug Simons (360) 249-1204 or Morris Barker (360) 902-2826

Spring recreational razor clam season canceled

OLYMPIA– The spring recreational razor clam season on Washington's Pacific Ocean beaches has been canceled due to continued high levels of toxic domoic acid, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Razor clam samples recently collected by WDFW on the coast from Long Beach north to the Moclips River were analyzed this week by the Washington Department of Health Lab and continued to show elevated domoic acid levels. The recent tests confirmed that domoic acid levels still are too high for safe harvest.

Previously, the spring razor clam season was postponed due to the high domoic acid levels.

Domoic acid levels in razor clams over 15 parts per million (ppm), are considered too high for safe human consumption. Samples from beaches south of Moclips showed domoic acid levels in the mid 20s to mid 30s ppm. The latest sample taken at Kalaloch showed levels above 180 ppm.

Domoic acid can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning in humans. Symptoms, which can occur within 24 hours of consuming clams with high levels of domoic acid, include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal cramps. In severe cases, headaches, dizziness, disorientation, seizures, breathing difficulties, memory loss and even death may occur within 48 hours of consuming the clams.

WDFW will collect samples in late summer for additional testing to determine if a fall clam digging season can be opened.

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