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WDFW Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom (ORHAB) project
 
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Tools and basic techniques for digging razor clams

Map of Razor Clam Beaches

Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include:

Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point. (see Map)

Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor. (see Map)

Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas. (see Map)

Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips. (see Map)

Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park.

March 21, 2017
Contact: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-4628

WDFW approves razor clam dig beginning March 24,
cancels opening at Twin Harbors

OLYMPIA – State shellfish managers have approved a razor clam dig beginning March 24 with openings alternating between Mocrocks and Copalis beaches for three days.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the opening on evening tides after marine toxin tests confirmed the clams on those two beaches are safe to eat.

A planned dig at Twin Harbors has been canceled after test results showed elevated levels of domoic acid, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

Domoic acid has posed an ongoing problem for shellfish fisheries along Washington's coast since 2015. The natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

"Unfortunately, toxin levels spiked again at Twin Harbors, prompting us to cancel this opening there," Ayres said. "We'll continue to monitor toxin levels at all our ocean beaches and hope to offer some digging dates for Twin Harbors and Long Beach as soon as clams are safe to eat."

Diggers should be aware that only one beach – either Mocrocks or Copalis – will be open each day of the upcoming dig, Ayres said.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:

  • March 24, Friday, 5:01 p.m.; 0.5 feet; Mocrocks
  • March 25, Saturday, 5:44 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Copalis
  • March 26, Sunday, 6:24 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks

No digging is allowed on open beaches before noon. The best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide, Ayres said.

WDFW also has tentatively scheduled a four-day dig on morning tides that alternates open days between Mocrocks and Copalis beginning March 30. Final approval of that dig depends on the results of an upcoming toxin test.

Shellfish managers have been alternating open dates between the two beaches to maximize the number of days available this season.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2016-17 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW's website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Tentative razor clam digs in March and April:

  • March 30, Thursday, 8:58 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Mocrocks
  • March 31, Friday, 9:47 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Copalis
  • April 1, Saturday, 10:40 a.m., -0.5 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 2, Sunday, 11:39 a.m.; -0.1 feet; Copalis
  • April 13, Thursday, 8:43 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Copalis
  • April 14, Friday, 9:18 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 15, Saturday, 9:55 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Copalis
  • April 16, Sunday, 10:36 a.m.; 0.5 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 27, Thursday, 7:55 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 28, Friday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.8 feet; Copalis
  • April 29, Saturday; 9:32 a.m.; -1.7 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 30, Sunday, 10:24 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Copalis

 

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) monitors shellfish for a variety of contaminants, including biotoxins, pollution, and radiation. For more information on shellfish safety, visit DOH's recreational shellfish webpage.