OLYMPIA - Clam enthusiasts have received the go-ahead to proceed with a final razor clam dig May 24, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches were approved for the one-day morning dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams were safe to eat. Low tide at the beaches will be 9:58 a.m., at -0.5 feet. No digging will be allowed after noon.
No digging will be allowed at Long Beach, where the stateís annual allowable catch has been reached. Kalaloch Beach remains closed to harvest.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said WDFW is able to offer one more dig at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks because there are sufficient clams remaining in the total allowable catch for those beaches.
"Even though digging was excellent during our early May opener, the digger turnout was lower than expected, leaving enough clams for a last dig." Ayres said. "This is the first time in two decades that WDFW has been able to offer a razor clam opener this late in the spring."
Ayres reminded people they must keep the first 15 clams they dig and not return any to the beach.
"While there are a lot of big clams out there, this is also the time when young ones are beginning to show, making it tempting to keep only the big ones," he said. "But itís important not to waste the clams and enforcement will be watching."
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. All diggers must have an applicable 2008-09 fishing license to dig razor clams on any beach. A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Licenses can be purchased at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, by telephone (1-866-246-9453), or in person at more than 600 license vendors throughout the state. A list of vendors is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/vendors.
Diggers also should be aware that portions of the dry sand beach at Twin Harbors are closed to the public to protect endangered western snowy plovers during breeding season, said Max Zahn, WDFW district wildlife biologist.
"This is the critical nesting period for these protected shorebirds and itís very important to not disturb their habitat," Zahn said. "Signs clearly mark the area and instruct people to stay on the hard-packed sand."
The closed area includes the dry sand area beyond the mean high tide line and is located from just south of Midway Beach Road to the first beach-access trail at Grayland Beach State Park.