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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


October 11, 2001
Contact: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-4628
Craig Bartlett, (360) 902-2259

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First razor clam opener of season gets green light

MONTESANO The first razor clam dig of the fall season will proceed on schedule Oct. 16 now that test results have shown that the clams are safe to eat, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Tests conducted by the Washington Department of Health this week indicate that marine toxins are well within safe levels at the coastal beaches that will be open to clam digging on noon tides three non-consecutive days next week, said Dan Ayres, WDFW razor clam biologist.

"This is the news we were waiting for," Ayres said. "We expect that digging will be good next week and for the rest of the season."

Four beaches will be open for digging from noon until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16 and again on Thursday, Oct. 18, including Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches. A third dig will commence after noon Saturday, Oct. 20 at those four beaches, plus Kalaloch Beach further north on the Olympic Peninsula.

Low tide will occur at Oct. 16 at 6:59 p.m (-0.8), Oct. 18 at 8:33 p.m. (-1.2) and Oct. 20 at 10:05 p.m. (-0.1). Ayres recommends that people start digging at least an hour before low tide for best results.

WDFW has scheduled a series of subsequent digs all contingent on the results of further marine toxin tests through New Year's Day on the dates listed below. Additional openings in 2002 will be announced in early January after the agency has had a chance to assess the mid-season harvest, Ayres said.

Opening dates scheduled after the first three days of digging are:

  • November 13 (4:54 p.m. -0.4) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • November 15 (6:29 p.m. -1.2) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • November 16 (7:14 p.m. -1.1) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • November 17 (7:57 p.m. -0.9) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • December 13 (5:27 p.m. -0.6) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • December 14 (6:13 p.m. -0.7) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • December 15 (6:56 p.m. -0.7) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • December 30 (6:40 p.m. -0.8) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • December 31 (7:24 p.m. -1.0) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • January 1 (8:09 p.m. -1.0) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Ayres said he expects some "great digging" this season, noting that the coastwide recreational allocation of 5.26 million clams is nearly twice that of any of the previous five years.

"The same ocean conditions that produced the huge salmon returns this year have also produced an abundance of razor clams on most beaches," Ayres said. "We do have more small clams than usual this year, but that also puts us in good shape for future years."

Ayres said the October opener sets the pattern for those that follow: Digging will be allowed only on afternoon (p.m.) tides and all beaches with the exception of Kalaloch will open simultaneously to avoid confusion.

"Kalaloch has an exceptional number of small clams this year, so we have restricted openings there to allow those clams to grow," Ayres said. He reminds clam diggers that they are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig, regardless of size or condition, on all coastal beaches.

Ayres said this year's digging schedule is similar to last year's and reflects public comments received via the Internet and at a series of meetings held in five coastal communities earlier this month.

"Generally people told us that they wanted to reserve a sufficient number of clams to have a longer season in the spring," Ayres said. "Even so, we have enough clams to providing digging opportunities in each of the next four months."

Ayres reminds prospective clam diggers that they must have a valid shellfish/seaweed license, combination license or two-day license to harvest shellfish. For licensing information, see the WDFW Fishing in Washington pamphlet.

CALENDAR OF BEACH OPENINGS (noon to midnight)

Beach Areas Oct. 16
Tuesday
Oct 18
Thursday
Oct. 20
Saturday
Nov. 13
Tuesday
Nov. 15
Thursday
Nov. 16
Friday
Nov. 17
Saturday
Long Beach OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Twin Harbors OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Copalis/Ocean Shores OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Moclips/Iron Springs Pacific Beach OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Kalaloch CLOSED CLOSED OPEN CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED OPEN

Beach Areas Dec. 13
Thursday
Dec. 14
Friday
Dec. 15
Saturday
Dec. 30
Sunday
Dec. 31
Monday
Jan. 1
Tuesday
Long Beach OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Twin Harbors OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Copalis/Ocean Shores OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Moclips/Iron Springs Pacific Beach OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN
Kalaloch CLOSED CLOSED OPEN CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED