The California Fish and
Game Commission on Monday voted 3-0 in favor of an emergency rulemaking to
prohibit recreational take and possession of razor clam from Humboldt and Del
Norte county beaches. The closure is now in effect. Closure of the fishery shall
remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health
Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the Director of the California
Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid levels no
longer pose a significant risk to public health and no longer recommends the
fishery be closed.
The California Department
of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will maintain a list of closed beaches of the state
and update that list on Wednesday of each week by 1 p.m. It shall be the
responsibility of any person prior to taking razor clams in Humboldt and Del Norte
counties to call CDFW’s hotline (831) 649-2883 or visit CDFW’s website at
www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories to obtain the current
status of any ocean beach in those counties.
A CDPH health advisory
has been in effect for razor clams in Humboldt and Del Norte counties since
August 2015 due to elevated domoic acid levels. Results from the most recent
tests showed that the health risk to humans from consumption of razor clams
remains significant, prompting CDPH to reissue a health advisory on April 20.
OEHHA followed that with a recommendation for fishery closure. The domoic acid
present in razor clams remains from the massive toxic algal bloom of
Pseudo-nitzschia that occurred last year in the Pacific Ocean. Algal blooms are
common, but this one was particularly large and persistent. CDPH has advised that razor clams are known
to retain domoic acid for long periods of time, in some cases more than a year.
CDFW will continue to
coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in razor clams along
the north coast to determine when the fishery can safely be opened.
Domoic acid is a potent
neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes
fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine
mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure
can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can
cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and can in some cases be
OEHHA Memo 4/20/2016:
In : Domoic Acid