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

April 16, 2004
Contact: Dan Ayres, WDFW, (360) 249-4628

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Morning razor clam dig approved on coastal beaches

OLYMPIA – Thousands of clam diggers are expected to descend on Washington’s coastal beaches this week now that the season’s first morning razor clam dig has received final approval.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced that it will proceed with plans to open all five state razor clam beaches for digging after a series of marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

Two beaches – Long Beach and Twin Harbors – will be open to clam digging on morning tides for four days, April 21-24. The other three beaches – Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch – will be open three days on morning tides April 22-24.

The National Park Service scheduled the proposed dig at Kalaloch Beach, which is located within the Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at other coastal beaches.

No clam digging will be allowed after noon at any beach, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, noting that morning digs in spring are always very popular.

“We’ve seen upwards of 30,000 clam diggers flock to coastal beaches in a single day during previous openings,” Ayres said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see that kind of turnout next week.”

Bill Laitner, Olympic National Park Superintendent, noted that the razor clam dig coincides with the Olympic Coast Cleanup, which will add to the number of people on coastal beaches.

“We urge people to get an early start and to consider picking up some marine debris along with their razor clams,” Laitner said.

To dig razor clams, participants must have a valid 2004-05 shellfish/seaweed license, available from license vendors across the state and on-line at http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov. WDFW will also sell licenses at the Willapa Bay Field Station (Nahcotta Lab) at 26700 Sandridge Rd., Ocean Park, on the Long Beach Peninsula from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21-23 and from 6:30 a.m. until noon April 24.

Legislation approved this year authorized WDFW to create two new razor-clam-only licenses, but not until June 10. For that reason, those licenses will not be available for next week’s dig.

Under state rules, harvesters are limited to 15 razor clams per day and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger=s limit must be kept in a separate container.

“Some beaches do have pockets of smaller clams,” Ayres said. “We have some concerns about wastage, and diggers should know that WDFW will be enforcing the first-15-clams-dug rule.”

For best results, Ayres recommends that people start digging at least one hour before low tide. Low morning tides during the upcoming opening are as follows:

  • April 21: 8:30 am / -0.6 ft.
  • April 22: 9:06 am / -0.5 ft.
  • April 23: 9:43 am / -0.3 ft.
  • April 24: 10:22 am / 0.0 ft.

Razor clam beaches scheduled to open for digging in late April are defined as follows:

  • Long Beach extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula.
  • Twin Harbors Beach extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the mouth of Grays Harbor.
  • Copalis Beach extends from the Grays Harbor North Jetty to the Copalis River, and includes beaches near Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut and Ocean City.
  • Mocrocks Beach extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
  • Kalaloch Beach extends from the south beach campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. Diggers should be aware that Kalaloch is a wild and primitive beach; vehicles are not allowed on the each. Parking is limited and only permitted at designated parking areas. For more information, consult the Olympic National Park website at www.nps.gov/olym/ or check at the Kalaloch ranger station.