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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 5, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Marine toxin levels on coastal razor clam beaches virtually nonexistent

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Good news for coastal razor clam lovers is that marine toxin levels are just about nonexistent on all beaches as the second series of digs is currently underway.

State Fish and Wildlife shellfish managers took the second of two rounds of razor clam samples required by Washington Dept. of Health before any recreational razor clam opener, and all samples are well below the action level for both domoic acid and Paralytic Sehllfish Poisoning.

Before a beach can be open for razor clams, the protocol requires that all razor clam samples collected from that beach must test under the action level of 20 parts per million (ppm) for domoic acid and 80 µg/100g for PSP on both of the two required sample collections.

In the results below provided by Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager, you will see values for a third marine toxin, okadic acid. This is a toxin that is produced by a surf zone dinoflagellate from the genus Dinophysis. These cells have been observed in coastal surf zone water samples (by our harmful algae monitoring project.)  As result, the Washington Department of Health has added screening for the presence of okadic acid to the tests conducted on razor clam tissue sampled prior to any razor clam opener. The action level for okadic acid is 16 µg/100g.

High levels of Okadic acid in shellfish tissue can produce Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning or DSP.

More details re:  okadic acid and DSP can be found at: http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Shellfish/BiotoxinsIllnessPrevention/Biotoxins/DiarrheticShellfishPoisoning.aspx

The latest samples were collected on Sept. 28.

Long Beach Reserve:

  • domoic acid =  1 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • okadic  acid = none detected

Twin Harbors Area CL (middle):

  • domoic acid =  1 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • okadic  acid = none detected

Copalis Area XL (middle)

  • domoic acid =  1 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • okadic  acid = none detected

Mocrocks Area BC (south)

  • domoic acid =  2 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • okadic  acid = none detected

For more information on razor clams, including how seasons are set, population sampling techniques and how to dig, clean and cook razor clams , go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/razorclm/razorclm.htm.

Coastal razor clam digs are:

Oct. 5, Saturday, 7:36 p.m. with a minus-0.4 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 6, Sunday, 8:17 p.m. with a -0.7 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors Mocrocks;

Oct. 7, Monday, 9:48 p.m. with a -0.8 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks; and Oct. 8, Tuesday, 10:40 p.m. with a -0.4 feet at Twin Harbors.

Oct. 17, Thursday, 6:15 p.m. with a -0.2 feet at Twin Harbors; Oct. 18, Friday, 6:57 p.m. with a -0.6 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 19, Saturday, 7:38 p.m. with a -0.7 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 20, Sunday, 8:16 p.m.; with a -0.7 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks; Oct. 21, Monday, 8:55 p.m. with a -0.4 feet at Twin Harbors, Mocrocks; and Oct. 22, Tuesday, 9:34 p.m. with a -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors.

“We are still finalizing more digs for the remainder of the year into December, and those will likely be an every other week schedule,” Ayres said.

A report on last year’s season and prospects for this year are available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.

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