Under new authority granted this year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham has acted to extend the closure of the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt and Del Norte counties due to continued high levels of domoic acid, as determined by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in consultation with the California Department of Public Health. The fishery closure will remain in effect until the health agencies determine clams to be safe and recommend reopening the fishery.
State health agencies determined last spring that razor clams in Humboldt and Del Norte counties had unhealthy levels of domoic acid and recommended fishery closure in April 2016. The California Fish and Game Commission closed the fishery under emergency rules from April to October 2016 and extended the closure to Jan. 26, 2017.
Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine algae. 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.