The recreational razor clam season — originally scheduled to begin Sept. 22-26 on coastal beaches — is postponed until further notice, according to a news release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Test results on razor clams indicate domoic acid levels are trending upward or, on most beaches, have exceeded the health guidelines set by the Washington Department of Health (DOH) officials for safe consumption.
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 at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/basics/domoic-acid.
"Because concentrations of domoic acid in razor clam samples have increased rapidly, we are acting out of an abundance of caution and putting a pause on opening all beaches," said Dan Ayres, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) coastal shellfish manager. "We will work closely with DOH and hopefully be able to open beaches sometime down the road."
WDFW shellfish staff will continue to regularly dig test samples of razor clams to monitor the situation. WDFW will announce future digging opportunities when marine toxin tests show it is safe to do so.
WDFW originally scheduled 56 days of tentative digs after summer assessments showed a strong razor clam population. The 2021-2022 season generated a record turnout of diggers and high number of razor clams harvested.