PENINSULA - On May 7, the Washington Depart-ment of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) released the most recent domoic acid levels for Long Beach, indicating that spring clamming is not likely this year.
At this time, the domoic acid, measured in parts per million (ppm), for Long Beach remains above the safe level of 20 ppm.
"The news is not good," said Dan Ayres, a WDFW coastal shellfish lead biologist, referring to the May 4 samples obtained in Long Beach. All three samples were above the safe level, and were measured at 22, 25 and 30 ppm.
In fact, all five of Washington's clamming areas, including Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch, all remain above the safe level of 20 ppm. The highest recent domoic acid reading was taken at Kalaloch, which was still at 84 ppm.
Ayres said that Washing-ton Department of Health requires all samples be below the action level in two consecutive sets of sample collections, seven to 10 days apart.
Ayres said the presence of domoic acid producing plankton in our surf-zone plankton samples over the last couple of weeks is persisting. He said the increases in domoic acid, especially at Long Beach, may be due to the presence of these psedo-nitzschia cells.
"We will continue sampling, but the chances of having any spring harvest opportunities are looking very unlikely," said Ayres.
Traditionally, WDFW does not allow any clamming after the end of May, which marks the beginning of the spawning season for razor clams. After the end of May, the next time that clamming will be allowed is in the fall.
Domoic acid data can also be seen on WDFW's website: www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/shelfish/razorclm/levels/levels.htm