Updated: Sep 28
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce the opening of all razor clam harvesting from Tillamook Head (south of Seaside) to the California border. Recent shellfish samples taken from this area indicate levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid have fallen below the alert level. Razor clamming remains closed from Tillamook Head north to the Columbia River (including inside the Columbia River). This area of the north coast includes the popular Clatsop beaches which remain closed under the annual conservation closure.
Mussel, bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. Coastal scallops are not affected by biotoxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. ODA does not recommend eating whole scallops. Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Paralytic shellfish toxin and domoic acid toxin are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.
Following the annual conservation closure, Clatsop beaches reopen to razor clamming October 1 with good news: domoic acid levels are below the closure threshold and razor clam abundance is the highest seen since 2004 when ODFW began assessing the population.
Extremely high juvenile recruitment and good survival rates of both juvenile and mature clams over the 2020-21 winter should lead to a very promising season. This year's population has a large number of mature clams that average over four inches with a tremendous number of juvenile clams under three-and-a-half inches.
To increase the chance of only digging mature, larger clams, harvesters should be sure to dig the largest razor clam "shows." Clammers are reminded the daily harvest limit is the first 15 razor clams dug regardless of size or condition. Each clammer must have their own container, dig their own clams, and may only possess one daily limit. View ODFW's video on razor clamming basics. The most popular razor clamming area in Oregon, Clatsop beaches stretch 18 miles between the Columbia River south jetty and Tillamook Head. These beaches closed Oct. 30, 2020 due to high levels of domoic acid that remained elevated until recently.
For more information call ODA's shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage.