Testing from marine toxins showed levels had dropped, allowing state Fish and Wildlife to give the go-ahead for a six-day dig at Twin Harbors.
Good news for coastal razor clam diggers as Twin Harbors beaches — stretching from Westport south to Willapa Bay — will open Friday along with Copalis and Mocrocks beaches.
Testing from marine toxins showed levels had dropped, allowing state Fish and Wildlife to give the go-ahead for a six-day dig at Twin Harbors. Testing is done for domoic acid – a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae – that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
Digging at Copalis and Mocrocks, the two northern-most beaches, will be open Friday through Sunday (Oct. 14-16), and Twin Harbors will be open Friday through Oct. 19. Digging is allowed during evening low tides only.
Long Beach remains closed to razor clam digging after testing last week showed levels of domoic acid ranging from 8 to 24 parts per million (ppm) with a cut-off of 20 ppm. More testing will occur at Long Beach, and once clams are deemed safe then it will likely reopen.
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Low tides: Friday, Oct. 14, is minus-0.2 feet at 5:55 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 15, -0.6 at 6:42 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 16, -1.1 at 7:28 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 17, -1.4 at 8:16 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 18, -1.4 at 9:04 p.m.; and Wednesday, Oct. 19, -1.1 at 9:55 p.m.
Domoic acid spiked well above the threshold in the spring of 2015, and created widespread closures of all coastal beaches until this past December.
State fisheries officials are being even more cautious after Oregon Fish and Wildlife announced late last month that the entire Oregon coast from Columbia River south to the California border has been closed for razor clams and mussels after the Department of Agriculture found unsafe levels of domoic acid.
The Department of Health also issued an interim health advisory recommending that people who eat large amounts of razor clams year-round reduce their consumption. A new study into the health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of domoic acid in razor clams shows that people who eat more than 15 clams a month year-round may experience memory problems.
For more information, go to http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html and for details on toxin levels, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_levels.html.