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Marine toxin spikes along Oregon coast, delaying hopes for razor clam season

Published on September 24, 2016 9:47AM

Last changed on September 24, 2016 9:55AM

LONG BEACH — Bad news keeps getting worse when it comes to a quick end to the marine toxin bloom that has indefinitely delayed start of razor clam season on the Southwest Washington coast.

Test results released Friday by the Oregon Department of Agriculture found the toxin domoic acid widespread in shellfish on the Oregon coast. Oregon DOA has closed the entire Oregon coast to shellfish harvesting.

This means the algal bloom responsible for producing the toxin is widespread and not a localized outbreak that might swiftly dissipate.

“Razor clams samples taken from Oregon beaches have exceeded the domoic acid action level (20 parts per million), Washington coast Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres said Saturday morning. “Clatsop beach sample was 34 ppm, Coos Bay samples were 110 ppm. Mussel samples also exceeded the action level.”

Oregon officials issued this press release:

“The recreational harvest of razor clams is closed from the Columbia River to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.

“The recreational harvest of mussels is closed from the Columbia River to the California border.

“The recreational harvest of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border.

“Recreational crab harvesting from the ocean, and in bays and estuaries, is open from the Columbia River to the California border. It is always recommended you eviscerate crab and discard the “butter” (viscera or guts) prior to cooking. When whole crab are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach into the cooking liquid. It is recommended you discard the cooking liquid, and do not use it in other dishes, such as sauces, broths, soups, stews, stocks, roux, dressings, etc. The consumption of crab viscera is not recommended. Please refer to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website​ for recreational seasons.

“Scallops are not affected by closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally caught scallops is not recommended.

“Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples show no biotoxins at this time.”


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