Razor clam digs on ocean beaches postponed due to toxins

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington shellfish managers have postponed the fall start of razor clam digging on ocean beaches. They say toxin levels in the clams are too high.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says it won't schedule razor clam digs on the coast until tests show the bivalves are safe to eat.

The problem is the level of domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae. It can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.

Toxin levels have dropped since May and June, when several digs were canceled, but concentrations still exceed state health guidelines.

Washington's coastal shellfish manager, Dan Ayres, says if levels continue to decline some clam digs may be scheduled in mid or late November.