OLYMPIA – Three ocean beaches will open for digging razor clams during morning hours later this week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Twin Harbors beach (which include North Cove, Grayland and Westport) will be open for digging from 12:01 a.m. through noon on Friday (May 11) and Saturday (May 12). In addition, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches will open for a one-day dig Saturday (May 12) from 12:01 a.m. through noon.
Copalis beaches include Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis. Mocrocks includes Iron Springs, Roosevelt, Pacific Beach and Moclips beaches.
In all cases, digging will be allowed from one minute past midnight until noon.
Two beaches – Long Beach and Kalaloch – will remain closed this week because the season's allocation has essentially been harvested at Long Beach and because of a high abundance of very small clams at Kalaloch.
Dan Ayres, WDFW razor clam biologist, said this week's opening is designed, in part, to help make up for missed digging opportunities at Twin Harbors, where beaches remained closed during last month's clam dig due to elevated marine toxin levels.
Toxin readings at Twin Harbors have since declined to levels deemed safe by the Washington Department of Health, allowing WDFW to reschedule the dig.
"We know these openings mean a lot to local communities and to the diggers themselves," Ayres said. "We're very pleased to be able to give folks another chance at Twin Harbors."
Ayres said Copalis and Mocrocks also have enough clams remaining under their allocation to allow for one more day of digging. All beaches will then be closed for razor clam digging until next fall, Ayres said. In the meantime, WDFW will conduct a coastwide assessment of razor clam stocks and develop a proposed schedule for next season's openings after a series of public meetings in September.
Low tide on Friday (May 11) will be -0.7 feet at 9:55 a.m. On Saturday (May 12), low tide will be -0.3 feet at 10:37 a.m. Ayres said he generally recommends that people start digging at least an hour before low tide for best results.
He also recommends that clam diggers purchase their 2001 license – shellfish/seaweed, combination or two-day – before they head for the beach to avoid the possibility of encountering lines at outlets in coastal communities. (License dealers are listed on WDFW's website.)
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.
Digging is prohibited in the three one-quarter-mile-wide razor clam reserves, which are marked by 10-foot orange metal poles with signs. The reserves are located just south of the Ocean City approach on Copalis and at the county line approach on Twin Harbors Beach.