Washington’s ocean beaches will remain closed to razor clam harvest through Dec. 31 after test results on ocean beaches indicate levels of domoic acid that exceed the threshold set by state public health officials for safe consumption.
“Domoic acid levels remain too high to re-open for razor clams on Washington’s ocean beaches,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “We plan to re-evaluate marine toxin levels in early January and will move forward on scheduling tentative digs in early 2021 if conditions allow.”
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.
Prior to recently rising levels of domoic acid that limited WDFW’s ability to reopen, razor clam diggers enjoyed more than 80,000 trips and harvested nearly 1.2 million clams in 2020.
Safe consumption thresholds for domoic acid are set by the Washington Department of Health (DOH).
Public health officials will also be closely monitoring the incidence of COVID-19 throughout the winter and spring digging seasons, 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.