I know what happened to the clams now
Something happened in the late 70s and butter clams in Washington become fatally toxic. It has to do with what has been coined, "The Red Tide", which is caused by large numbers of microscopic organisms. Small razor clams don't retain the fatally Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) contained in these Red Tides (which aren't really red, BTW).
PSP is created by A.catenella and is a potent nerve toxin.
A.cantenella is a plankton like animal/plant that can produce its own food and it can swim. When they're dormant, they fall as cyst onto the ocean floor, where shellfish, like clams and oysters (which can filter 8 gallons of water an hour) can scarf them up. See: http://www.tpchd.org/files/library/3f99dac18661fbba.pdf
The clams are here, they're just off limits.
I'm actually happy now, that its not a result of pollution, or over-harvesting.
But I do miss butter clams!

Saturday, January 5, 2008 9:56:23 AM, From: jim, To: Stories