The annual summer conservation closure for razor clams begins Monday, July 15 and runs through Sept. 30 on Clatsop beaches (from Tillamook Head in Seaside to the mouth of the Columbia River). The regulation has been in place since 1967 and closes razor clam harvesting on the 18 miles of beach north of Tillamook Head. By protecting newly-set young clams from harvesters, the closure gives young clams a chance to establish themselves on the beach during summer.
Razor clam stock assessments are also completed by ODFW during the closure period. Last year, assessments showed that clams were too small (2-3 inches) to be harvested by commercial clammers, or desired by recreational clammers. The annual closure was extended until spring 2019 to allow the clams to grow. Razor clams grew as anticipated during the extended closure and ODFW shellfish staff continued to monitor the growth when the season opened in spring of 2019.
By the middle of May 2019, razor clams on Clatsop Beach averaged 4 inches and clammers were having great success throughout the rest of the season, averaging over 12 clams per person. Clatsop beaches are the most productive razor clam beaches in the state, accounting for more than 90 percent of total harvest.
“We want to ensure that the Clatsop beaches continue to provide a great opportunity for razor clam harvesters,” said Matt Hunter, ODFW’s Shellfish and Phytoplankton Project leader. “Not disturbing the young razor clams increases the chance of good recruitment, so we thank everyone for respecting this annual closure.”
Harvest for razor clams continues to be open on other state beaches though a few closures are in effect due to toxin levels. (Currently, razor clamming is closed from Cape Blanco to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid toxin; see ODA’s Recreation Shellfish page for latest information.)
The best opportunities outside Clatsop beaches are in the Newport area, with the most consistent producers being Agate Beach, North Jetty and South Beach. Other beaches that can produce razor clams include Cannon Beach, Cape Meares and Yachats Beach.
Bay clam harvesting is currently open coast-wide.
Always check for toxin-related closures before harvesting clams or crabs by calling the shellfish safety hotline (1-800-448-2474). Closures are also noted on ODA’s Recreation Shellfish page and on ODFW’s Recreation Report - Clamming and Crabbing Report.
For more information about clamming on the Oregon coast, visit ODFW’s Crabbing and Clamming page online.