LONG BEACH — The Washington State Department of Health has asked the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct another round of tests before making a decision about whether to allow clam digging Oct. 6 and 7 on the south Washington coast.
WDFW personnel will collect sample clams early on Monday, Oct. 2, and seek a rapid turnaround for test results.
The most recent samples taken this Monday still showed all areas on the coast below 20 parts per million of the marine toxin domoic acid, but a couple of areas had risen considerably from the week before, including one on the Long Beach Peninsula, Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres said Wednesday afternoon.
Testing offshore by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds there is still a big bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia algae cells in the Pacific. Some species of this algae occasionally produce domoic acid. The presence of many algal cells in seawater means domoic levels have the potential of shooting upward even from day to the next. DOH wants to make sure razor clams contain a safe amount of domoic with as little time as possible between testing and digging.
Digging isn’t allowed if domoic acid in clam meat is at a concentration of 20 ppm or greater.
“We’re back in a waiting mode.” Ayres said.