The first razor clam opening of the fall season hinges on an additional marine toxin test that will be conducted early next week.
State shellfish managers had hoped to announce today whether the dig, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6-7, would proceed.
However, state health officials have asked for an additional round of toxin tests due to rising levels of domoic acid.
A natural toxin produced by certain types of algae, domoic acid can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
“We’re again starting to see increasing amounts of the algae that produces domoic acid in our ocean waters,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We want to conduct one more test to make sure the clams are safe to eat.”
Domoic acid has disrupted shellfish fisheries along the West Coast for the last few years.
Ayres anticipates toxin test results by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.