Domoic acid closes Oregon Coast to razor clamming from Umpqua River to California
REEDSPORT, Ore. - Razor clam harvesting is now closed from the south jetty of the Umpqua River south to the California border after tests found elevated levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday.
The state's annual conservation closure from the Columbia River to Tillamook Head is also in effect through September 30.
That means razor clamming is only open from Tillamook Head south to the Umpqua River.
The news comes on the eve of free fishing weekend, where no license or tag is need to crab, clam or fish in Oregon.
"Mussel harvesting, crabbing and bay clamming is open along the entire Oregon Coast," the agencies said in a statement. "Coastal scallops are not affected by these closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. Crab, bay clams and oysters are also not affected by this closure and are safe to eat. Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers."
Domoic acid is produced by algae and originate in the ocean. The state will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit. Reopening of an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.
To learn more, you can call the shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Closures webpage.
Domoic Acid (a marine biotoxin) in fish and shellfish
Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea at lower doses and seizures, coma, irreversible memory loss (“Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning”), and death at higher doses. Domoic acid is produced by marine algal blooms under certain conditions. Domoic acid can temporarily build up in crabs, lobsters, clams and other fish and shellfish, making them hazardous to eat for humans, marine mammals, and birds. No human cases of domoic acid poisoning have been reported in California; however, mild cases may not be readily recognized. Domoic acid is considered responsible for hundreds of sea lion illnesses or deaths in the state.
OEHHA, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, recommends closures, delay of openings, and re-openings of fisheries based on high levels of toxic substances, including marine biotoxins such as domoic acid, under Fish and Game Code Section 5523. Recommendations to close or delay the opening of fisheries are made when levels of domoic acid meet or exceed the federal action level for this toxin. Recommendations for re-opening fisheries are made when domoic acid levels fall below the action level in two successive samples collected at least 7 days apart. Closures, delay of openings, and re-openings are implemented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Check California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Health Advisories for Finfish, Shellfish, and Crustaceans, or call California Department of Public Health’s Shellfish Biotoxin Information Line (800-553-4133) for current advisories and closures.