Grays Harbor re-opens to recreational harvest of all shellfish; razor clam season still on hold
Officials with Grays Harbor County Public Health have announced that the inner Grays Harbor waterway has re-opened for recreational shellfishing of all species.
This follows the September announcement that Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP), formerly known as “red tide,” had been detected at concentrations above the closure level in shellfish samples collected from Westport.
PSP poisoning can be life-threatening and is caused by eating shellfish containing a potent toxin. A naturally occurring organism produces the toxin. The toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing. A person cannot determine if the toxin is present by visual inspection. PSP can only be detected by laboratory testing.
Therefore, recreational shellfish harvesters are advised to call the DOH Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 or access the Shellfish Safety website at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/biotoxin/biotoxin.html before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Grays Harbor. Before harvesting, also remember to check harvest seasons and licensing requirements.
Due to that testing, recreational shellfish harvesting was closed within Grays Harbor. That closure was within Grays Harbor only, and does not affect ocean beaches.
According to Grays Harbor Public Health, the recent levels of the marine biotoxin that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) have fallen below the recreational closure limit.
Note, this does NOT impact the razor clam fishery along coastal beaches, which remain suspended until further notice.
In the November 21 testing, domoic acid levels on the coast have continued to be above the Department of Health maximum threshold for domoic acid levels in razor clams at 20 parts per million (PPM).
November 21, 2022 Test Results
Before a beach can be opened for the harvest of razor clams, WDOH protocol requires that all razor clam samples collected from that beach must test under the action level, in two tests that are at least 10 days apart.
These results along with previous results are posted on at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/basics/domoic-acid/levels
Contact the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife for information about licensing and fishing regulations at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations.