The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director has opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt County (PDF) (Open in new window) following a recommendation from state health agencies that the consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure. Testing of razor clams at Clam Beach, Humboldt County in June and July 2021, indicated all clams were below the federal action level for domoic acid of 20 parts per million. This announcement arrives several months after the fishery opened in Del Norte County. With the opening of Humboldt County, no domoic acid closures remain in effect for razor clams.
Domoic acid is produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, Pseudo-nitzschia, that was responsible for a massive bloom that occurred off the California coast in late 2015. The recreational razor clam fishery closed in April 2016 after a recommendation from health agencies. Domoic acid poisoning in humans may occur within minutes to hours after consumption of affected seafood and can result in signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to permanent loss of short-term memory (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death. There is no way to prepare clams that will remove the toxin – cooking and freezing have no effect.
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. During odd-numbered years, Clam Beach (also known as Little River Beach) in Humboldt County, is only open between Moonstone Beach and north of the boundary line due west from the Clam Beach south parking lot trailhead (40° 59.67’ N. lat.). Effective March 8, 2021, each person is required to keep a separate container for their clams and is not allowed to commingle their take with another person when digging and transporting clams to shore.
For more information, please refer to the California Recreational Ocean Fishing Regulations 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: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories.
To get the latest information on current fishing season closures related to domoic acid, please call CDFW’s Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line at (831) 649-2883.