ALERT: High levels of domoic acid remain present in Del Norte and Humboldt County razor clams 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. **California Department of Public Health 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 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 fatal. OEHHA Memo 4/20/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122446&inline
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 to obtain the current status of any ocean beach in those counties.