OLYMPIA – Clam lovers may get one more chance to dig razor clams this season after all.
Despite earlier indications, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has tentatively scheduled one more clam dig at two ocean beaches, provided that marine toxin tests conducted prior to the dig demonstrate the clams are safe to eat.
The one-day dig is tentatively planned for Thursday, May 24 from 12:01 a.m. until noon at Copalis and Mocrocks beaches. Low tide that day is minus 1.9 feet at 8:17 am.
Copalis beaches include Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis. Mocrocks includes Iron Springs, Roosevelt, Pacific Beach and Moclips beaches. All other beaches will remain closed.
Dan Ayres, WDFW razor clam biologist, said low turnout by clam diggers during a dig earlier this month has left enough clams at Copalis and Mocrocks to open those beaches for another one-day dig.
"This is unexpected," Ayres said. "During the last opening, the sun was out and the digging was good, but the crowds just didn't show up at Copalis and Mocrocks. Since we still have clams available under the allocation for this season, we figured we'd try to give folks another crack at them."
Ayres strongly recommends that anyone planning to participate in the next clam dig call the WDFW Shellfish Hotline (360-796-3215) after May 21 to confirm that the final marine toxin results are in and the dig is still on. Updates on the razor clam season are also posted on the WDFW website.
"We'll notify the news media as soon as we have the results, but people can check on the status of the opening themselves by checking the hotline or the website," he said.
Ayres also suggests that diggers purchase their 2001 license before they leave home to avoid potential lines in coastal communities.
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 always 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; at the county line approach on Twin Harbors Beach; and 2.8 miles north of the Oysterville approach on Long Beach.