State cancels 2 more razor clam digs due to toxins

Razor Clams

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state shellfish managers have canceled two more razor clam digs that had been scheduled this month on ocean beaches. They say toxin levels in the clams are too high.

The News Tribune reports the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has canceled a dig that was to open Friday and another scheduled for May 22. The agency previously canceled three days of a four-day dig last week due to high toxin levels.

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. Washington's coastal shellfish manager, Dan Ayres, says razor clams absorb the acid into their fat cells.

He says it appears warm water temperatures likely played a role in the sudden rise in toxin levels.

Ayers says the department will test acid levels when it surveys clam populations this summer.