OLYMPIA — Washington’s ocean beaches will remain closed to razor clam harvest until at least December 12 after test results on razor clams dug at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis indicate levels of domoic acid that exceed the threshold set by state public health officials for safe consumption.
The latest tests Nov. 16 found up to 62 parts per million in clam meat collected on the Long Beach Peninsula and up to 46 ppm on Twin Harbors beach in north Pacific/south Grays Harbor County.
The previous tests on Nov. 1 found an average of about 59 ppm at four sites spread along the peninsula.
On the Twin Harbors beach, one location tested at 83 ppm and the other at 60 ppm.
Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, expressed cautious optimism that domoic levels will trend downward.
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.
Safe consumption thresholds for domoic acid are set at 20 ppm by the Washington Department of Health.
Razor clam diggers have enjoyed more than 80,000 trips and harvested nearly 1.2 million clams in 2020.
The department won’t be able to announce if digs scheduled to start December 12 can move forward until marine toxin test results are conducted by DOH in early December.