Razor clam digs on all coastal beaches remain closed due to persistent marine toxin levels

News release

Contact: Dan Ayres, 360-249-4628
Media contact: Mark Yuasa, 360-902-2262

OLYMPIA – The recreational razor clam season on all coastal beaches remains closed until further notice, shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Razor clam test results released on Dec. 23 indicate domoic acid levels on all beaches, remain above the health guidelines for safe consumption set by Washington Department of Health (WDOH) officials.

“While many had to change their holiday razor clamming plans, we are looking forward to some many excellent digging opportunities in the months ahead,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “With that in mind, we’ll continue to work closely with our partners at WDOH to closely monitor razor clam toxin levels and reopen harvest as soon as clams are safe to eat.”

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. WDFW learned from similar algae bloom events in the past that razor clams can be very slow to have domoic acid leave their meat tissue. More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW's domoic acid webpage.

WDFW shellfish staff will continue to regularly dig test samples of razor clams to monitor the situation. WDOH requires two test samples taken at least 10 days apart (depending on tides and weather) must fall under the health guideline level before a beach can reopen for digging. WDFW plans to announce future opportunities once marine toxin tests show it is safe to do so.

For more information, go to the WDFW's razor clam webpage and the DOH webpage. To be notified of in-season rule changes as they are announced sign up for email notifications at wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.

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