07/30/2010 The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have reopened a portion of the coast to recreational razor clam harvesting, from Tillamook Head south to Cascade Head. Shellfish samples taken from the area indicate levels of the marine toxin domoic acid have dropped below the alert level.
Recreational razor clamming remains closed on the Oregon coast from Tillamook Head north to the mouth of the Columbia River and from Cascade Head south to Bandon.
Coastal scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. Crab and oysters are also not affected by the closure and are safe to eat. Recreational mussel harvesting and commercial oyster faming remains open on the entire Oregon coast.
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin produced by marine phytoplankton or algae. Eating shellfish contaminated with domoic acid, even at low levels, can cause minor illness within minutes to hours after consumption. The toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking, adding baking soda, or any other method. In mild cases, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and headache. More severe cases can result in memory problems and even death.
Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins weekly, as tides permit. Reopening of an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.
For more information, call ODA's shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720 or visit the ODA shellfish closures Web page.
How to Dig for Razor Clams