No one was at Osteria Punta Roja a couple of times I rode over there last week, but in town my fishmonger Federico had clams and told me they were OK. We bought a few pounds and ate them (cooked) and we are still alive, so who knows....
If the seawater where you are collecting the bivalves is clear then they should be good. The Red Tide poison in only in the gut of those filter feeders and they suck in, digest and spit out that stuff fast. If you collect them yourself be careful with murky turbid waters like Cholla Bay as the Red Tide critters might be mixed in with the silt and mud stirred up by the tides. I've been mildly poisoned a number of times and it depends on how much of them you eat and the time it takes for it to affect you, which is usually within an hour or so. The effect of the poison, at least in my case, starts with a tingling in my neck muscles and shortness of breath and usually is gone within an hour or so. Now days I take my clams in small doses just to be sure. To sit down and eat thirty or forty of them all at once is asking for trouble. Until two years ago I would always buy twenty or thirty dozen of them off the street in El Golfo, but I just happened to get a load the was infected, didn't get me really sick but sick enough to say "nada mas", I'll just catch my own from now on.
As for the bigger bivalves like the Hachas (Pen Shells), Geoducks, Basket Cockles, Rock Scallops, etc., I only eat the meat of the muscles never any of the guts which is where the poison would be. Buying clams from the fish markets is playing Russian Roulette, I NEVER do it! If you do collect your own, here's a good tip, take two buckets. Use one to gather with and another half full of fresh seawater. Dump your catch into the water and you will see that with a few minutes they will open slightly and start pumping. Out comes most of the silt and mud then you will see their poop in the form of trails of greenish grey snotty strips. I'll swirl em around and refill the bucket several times and end up with some nicely cleaned clams.
March 14, 2017. The health ban on consumption and sale of bivalve mollusks, which has been in effect since January 27th, remains given there have been no reductions of toxins due to what is known as Marea Roja (Red Tide), reports Health Control Unit Director Carlos Decina Torres. Acknowledging the ban has created concerns for those who work in the industry, recommendations still include avoiding fishing, buying, or consuming oysters, clams, scallops, and other bivalve mollusks. He added reductions in toxins have been reported in other areas, and hopes are this area will soon prove to demonstrate similar results, and with it a lifting of the ban.
March 30, 2017. Health Control Director Carlos Decina Torres reports that following monitoring and ongoing studies, a partial ban on bivalve mollusks has been granted for this part of the Sea of Cortez. However, the ban- which had first been announced at the end of January – remains in place for four of seven polygons that have been subject to monitoring (including La Pinta, Bahía Adaír, and Morua – closest to Puerto Peñasco). Decina Torres emphasized monitoring efforts have shown positive results in most areas through samples, with a third monitoring to come in order to finally end the health ban on bivalve mollusks (i.e. oysters, clams). The state official thanked everyone for heeding the ban, as well as for patience from producers of bivalve mollusks, reiterating this has been a solely preventative measure to ensure no health risks persist.
This past Saturday morning we went out to Bahia La Cholla with the intent to catch a sack-o-clams, then tip some cervesas y tacos de pescado at JJ's. The almejas were thick and not to lively so we were able to procure about fifty of them. The receding water was clear and warm. I washed all of all of the stinking black muck from them and let em settle down in a bucket of clear fresh sea water for awhile whilst downing a TKT lite. We got our tacos, some free-jollies-refritos, watched the guys corn holing each other then went up to the top of Competetion Hill to check out the Zippie Heads, all rather boring though, especially for $70.00 a pop! Got back to the condo, steamed up the sad little almejas and ate em all. Just as sweet and delicious as they could ever be, especially straight up, with no lime juice, butter or salsa.