A jarring warning today, May 8, from Washington’s Department of Health: They are advising that diggers throw out all razor clams collected yesterday.
“All razor clams harvested from coastal beaches on Thursday May 7th should not be eaten. Anyone who has eaten shellfish from this area and who experiences symptoms of Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) should see a physician,” said Jerry Borchert, coordinator of the Department of Health’s Marine Biotoxin Program, in a press release.
WDFW had already shortened this week’s scheduled dig from four days to one as a result of rising levels of the toxin domoic acid.
It can cause ASP when ingested in high amounts.
“Symptoms of ASP can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, dizziness, permanent short-term memory loss and a variety of other ailments. There is no antidote for ASP and cooking or freezing shellfish doesn’t destroy the toxin. Extreme cases of ASP can cause death, although there have been no known fatalities from this poisoning in Washington,” DOH says.
The warning affects razor clam harvest from Long Beach north to Kalaloch Beach. A DOH map shows the shellfishing closure extending around Neah Bay into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
DOH says that crab “butter” should be discarded as well.
THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce two new shellfish harvest closures due to marine toxins along the Oregon Coast. All shellfish harvesting is closed from the mouth of the Columbia River to Tillamook Head, south of Seaside on the north Oregon coast, due to elevated levels of domoic acid. In addition, recreational mussel harvesting is closed from Cascade Head, north of Lincoln City, to the north jetty of the Rogue River near Gold Beach on the south coast due to elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Toxin.
Meanwhile, a razor clam harvest closure for domoic acid remains in affect from the south jetty of the Siuslaw River near Florence to the California border.
Coastal scallops are not affected by these closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreational scallops is not recommended. Crab is not affected by the closures.
Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples taken from commercial markets show no biotoxins at this time.
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.