You are the owner of this article.
top story

Recreational clamming closed to out-of-state visitors over virus concerns

State restricts fishing and hunting

  • 0

Looking to discourage weekend travel, Oregon closed recreational hunting, fishing, crabbing and clamming to people from out of state and again urged residents to stay close to home when outside to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The new restrictions — in effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday night — came after appeals from leaders on the coast and others concerned about the potential impact visitors could have on local medical and emergency services.

Razor clamming

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced new restrictions on clamming because of the coronavirus.

Washington state closed fishing and hunting to residents and visitors until May 4, which Oregon fishery managers believe contributed to a bump in out-of-state clam diggers at North Coast beaches last weekend.

Recreational fishing for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River is closed, but other seasons remain open.

Gov. Kate Brown issued a stay-at-home order in March to help control the virus. But many people have traveled to the coast and other popular recreational destinations, loosely interpreting the state’s guidance to stay close to home when they go outside to hunt, fish, walk or bike.

“Some have asked us to close seasons to reduce travel,” Curt Melcher, the director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in a statement. “We would like to keep seasons open to give locals an outlet during this difficult time, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to travel to these communities.”

The state will refund spring bear and spring turkey tags to people from out of state, but anticipates that others who have already purchased 2020 licenses to hunt, fish or shellfish will have other opportunities to do so later in the year.

The state continues to urge people to stay home.

“Stick close to home and fish at your local lake, pond or river and do not go crabbing or clamming unless you live on the coast, and then only to places where access is still open,” Melcher said.

Many coastal communities have restricted access, however.

Seaside has closed its beach. Clatsop County announced Thursday it would shut newly-installed gates at beach accesses at Sunset Beach and Del Rey Beach for the weekend.

Beaches north of Seaside remain open to people who want to take a walk, county officials noted.

“The closure is to discourage visitors from coming to Clatsop County and local communities,” a notice from the county stated.

Officials urge residents to respect Brown’s stay-at-home order and follow social distancing guidelines when outside.

“Large numbers of visitors crowding beaches and beach towns will result in further restrictions on public beach use,” the county warned.

Access to the beach is also already limited due to the closure of state parks, including popular beachfront parks like Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton and Oswald West south of Cannon Beach.

“Right now, my opinion is that we’re trying to approach all of these issues with some moderation,” said Kathleen Sullivan, the chairwoman of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners. “Hopefully, people will understand their own individual responsibility.”

County leadership echoes the state in urging people to recreate close to home, but Sullivan said she recognizes the inherent difficulty in trying to restrict people’s actions.

“It’s a tough question,” she said. “How do you enforce something that’s real draconian? My approach is that you try to do the best you can with education first. I think that this ruling (by fish and wildlife) will be helpful.”

It also gives leeway to locals, she added. The county heard feedback from residents that it was important for them to be able to get out on the beach and pursue traditional activities like clamming.

Fishery managers told The Astorian most people seem to be following social distancing guidelines on the beach, though changes to access have inadvertently created some bottleneck situations as people go from their cars to the sand.

Katie Frankowicz is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Coronavirus Sections

Get breaking news!

Coronavirus FAQ

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Can I get COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?

There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene.

Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the new coronavirus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.

What about imported animals or animal products?

CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.

What precautions should be taken for animals that have recently been imported from outside the United States?

At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets and service animals, can spread COVID-19. As with any animal introduced to a new environment, animals recently imported should be observed daily for signs of illness. If an animal becomes ill, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian. Call your local veterinary clinic before bringing the animal into the clinic and let them know that the animal was recently imported from another country.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

Local Sports

Local News