The Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has re-opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt County following a recommendation from state health agencies that consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure.
The razor clam fishery was closed in April of this year in Humboldt County due to the risk of domoic acid exposure. During the closure, state health agencies continued to assess domoic acid levels, which consistently exceeded the federal action level for domoic acid of greater than or equal to 20 parts per million (ppm). However, in July, clams collected from Clam Beach, Humboldt County, all had domoic acid concentrations lower than this action level.
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin produced by certain types of plankton that can be harmful or even fatal to humans. Domoic acid poisoning in humans may occur minutes to hours after consuming affected seafood. It can result in signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to permanent short-term memory loss (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma, or death. There is no way to prepare clams that will remove the toxin. Cooking and freezing have no effect.
The CDFW reminds clammers that the daily bag limit for razor clams is 20, and the first 20 clams dug must be retained regardless of size or condition. Each person must keep a separate container and cannot blend their clams with another person when digging and transporting clams to shore.
For more information, please refer to Section 29.20 Clams General and Section 29.45 for specific razor clam regulations. For more information on any fishery closure information or health advisories, please visit CDFW’s Ocean Health Advisories website.
To get the latest information on current fishing season closures related to domoic acid, call CDFW’s Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line at (831) 649-2883.
Call the California Department of Public Health’s Biotoxin Information Line at (510) 412-4643 or toll-free at (800) 553-4133 for the latest consumption warnings.