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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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December 30, 2004
Contact: Dan Ayres, WDFW, (360) 249-4628

Razor clam dig starts next week on 4 coastal beaches

OLYMPIA - The first razor clam dig of 2005 will get under way next week on four razor clam beaches in Washington.

Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches will all be open to razor clam digging between noon and midnight Jan. 7, 8 and 9, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

The department confirmed plans to conduct the three-day dig after a series of marine toxin tests showed that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

The exception was Kalaloch Beach in the Olympic National Park, where a toxin-producing bloom of pseudo-nitzschia algae washed ashore last July. Jointly managed by WDFW and the Olympic National Park, Kalaloch Beach has remained closed to clam digging because domoic acid levels there continue to exceed state and federal health standards, Ayres said.

"The good news is that toxin levels at Kalaloch are finally falling," he said. "With luck, we should be able to open the beach to clam digging in the months ahead."

The razor clam opening in January is the first of three digs scheduled by WDFW in early 2005. Subsequent digs, tentatively scheduled on evening tides Feb. 5-7 and March 6-8, are contingent on the results of future marine toxin tests, Ayres said.

Once those digs have been completed, WDFW will assess the total harvest since October and determine whether enough clams remain for future openings, Ayres said.

"We know that a lot of people like to dig clams during morning low tides, so we hope to schedule some morning digs in spring," he said.

For best results, Ayres recommends that clammers start digging at least one hour before low tide. Evening low tides during the three-day opening in January are:

  • Jan. 7 (Friday): 4:01 p.m., +0.1
  • Jan. 8 (Saturday): 4:55 p.m., -0.5
  • Jan. 9 (Sunday): 5:47, -1.0

Low tides during the openings tentatively scheduled in February and March are:

  • Feb. 5 (Saturday): 3:41 p.m., +0.3
  • Feb. 6 (Sunday): 4:38 p.m., -0.3
  • Feb. 7 (Monday): 5:30 p.m., -0.7

  • March 6 (Sunday): 3:21 p.m., +0.3
  • March 7 (Monday): 4:18 p.m., -0.1
  • March 8 (Tuesday): 5:08 p.m., -0.4

Under WDFW rules, harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's limit must be kept in a separate container.

Ayres reminds those planning to dig razor clams during the upcoming opening that a license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2004 annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination license is still valid.

One new option is a "razor clam only" license now available in both annual and three-day versions. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW web site at

For anyone needing to purchase a license, Ayres strongly recommends doing so before leaving home to avoid long lines that often form at coastal license dealers during a dig.

However, to help ease the pressure on coastal dealers, WDFW will sell licenses at the Willapa Bay Field Station, 26700 Sandridge Rd., Ocean Park, on the Long Beach Peninsula. Licenses will be sold at the Field Station - also known as the "Nahcotta Lab" - Friday, Jan. 7 through Sunday, Jan. 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.