MONTESANO – The first razor clam dig of spring will open this week as scheduled on three ocean beaches after final marine biotoxin tests conducted by the Washington Department of Health indicated the clams are safe to eat.
Long Beach and Twin Harbors Beach (including North Cove, Grayland and Westport) will open for digging as scheduled on April 6, 7 and 8, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today. Mocrocks Beach (including Iron Springs, Roosevelt, Pacific Beach and Moclips) will open April 7 and 8.
Digging on all three beaches is restricted to morning (a.m.) hours only.
Doug Simons, WDFW razor clam biologist, emphasized that diggers must keep the first 15 razor clams harvested, regardless of size or condition and each digger's limit must be kept in a separate container.
"We're beginning to see a large number of smaller clams showing up on the beach, and we do not want to see them wasted," Simons said. "For larger clams, diggers should look for the larger `shows' or holes in the sand. As a rule, the bigger clams produce the biggest holes."
Copalis Beach (including Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis) will not open for recreational digging, since the state's share of the total allowable catch has already been reached. Members of the Quinault Indian Nation will be digging on this beach during the spring to harvest their share of the total allowable catch.
Kalaloch will also remain closed due to continued elevated levels of domoic acid.
Simons also reminds diggers that they must have their 2000-2001 licenses, and should try to obtain them before leaving for the beach to avoid long lines.
To dig clams on a non-commercial basis, an annual shellfish/seaweed license costs $7 for residents age 16 to 69. For seniors age 70 and older, the annual license costs $5, which is also the cost of a combination license required for residents and non-residents age 15. For non-residents age 16 and older, the annual license costs $20. A two-day license is also available for $6 that allows residents and non-residents to dig clams as well as go fishing in fresh or salt water during a 48-hour period.