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In Razor Clams - Domoic acid levels still high

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No future razor clam dates will be announced until domoic acid levels in razor clams drop below the action level. That's the word from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

"We have no projections of when that might be," WDFW Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres said last Wednesday afternoon. "We will continue to test every two weeks.

"As we reported earlier this month, razor clams are following the historical pattern of slowly depurating (losing) domoic acid," Ayres said. "We also are observing the levels 'bounce around' some, as they have in past events. This is a result of the individual 12 clams we harvest when we are collecting samples. The toxin 'load' can vary greatly between individual clams.

"The laboratory protocol requires the clams to be cleaned and then the meat from all 12 (per area) are blended together," Ayres continued. "Then a sample of that mixture is analyzed and one result is reported for that area."

Listed below are the most recent marine toxin levels, as announced by the Washington Department of Health (WDOH).

Before a beach can be opened for the harvest of razor clams, WDOH protocol requires that all razor clam samples collected from that beach must test under the action level (20 ppm for domoic acid; 80 µg/100g for PSP; and 16 µg/100g for DSP) on both of two required sample collections, that must be spaced 7 to 10 days apart.

Note that in all these samples, only razor clam meat tissue is tested.

The samples below were all collected on Jan. 28.

Long Beach Area E (north):

  • domoic acid = 22 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • DSP = none detected

Twin Harbors Area CL (middle):

  • domoic acid = 30 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • DSP = none detected

Copalis Area K (south)

  • domoic acid = 27 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • DSP = none detected

Copalis Area XL (middle)

  • domoic acid = 32 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • DSP = none detected

Copalis Area GS (north)

  • domoic acid = 49 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • DSP = none detected

Mocrocks Area CP (middle)

  • domoic acid = 30 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • DSP = none detected

Mocrocks Area MP (north)

  • domoic acid = 33 ppm
  • PSP = none detected
  • DSP = none detected

You can check out the historical domoic acid data at the link below.

These results and the historical record of domoic acid events can be found at: (click on "show historical data") and then hover your cursor over the data points for more detail).

Along with sampling collecting razor clams every two week, WDFW, together with their colleagues in the ORHAB (Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom) partnership, continue on-going observations of the surf zone phytoplankton assemblages.

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