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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Razor clam digs postponed; toxin levels high

Clammers can harvest up to 15 razor clams such as this one, taken at Grayland, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / The Spokesman-Review)
Clammers can harvest up to 15 razor clams such as this one, taken at Grayland, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / The Spokesman-Review)

SHELLFISHING -- Washington shellfish managers have postponed the fall start of razor clam digging on ocean beaches. They say toxin levels in the clams are too high.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says it won’t schedule razor clam digs on the coast until tests show the bivalves are safe to eat.

The problem is the level of domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae. It can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.

Toxin levels have dropped since May and June, when several digs were canceled, but concentrations still exceed state health guidelines.

Washington’s coastal shellfish manager, Dan Ayres, says if levels continue to decline some clam digs may be scheduled in mid or late November.



Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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