MONTESANO – Three ocean beaches have been found safe for clam digging, allowing the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to proceed with plans for opening razor-clam digging Sunday.
Doug Simons, regional WDFW razor clam manager, said tests conducted by the state Department of Health showed that marine toxin levels are well within the range considered safe for human health.
"We're very pleased that we'll be able to give clam diggers this opportunity," Simons said. "The razor-clam openings during winter months last year proved extremely popular."
Beginning Sunday at noon, digging for razor clams will be allowed over a five-day period at the following times and places:
- Twin Harbor Beach, including the North Cove, Grayland and Westport areas, will open from Dec. 19 through 23 for five consecutive days of digging.
- Copalis Beach, which includes Ocean Shores, Ocean City and Copalis, will open Dec. 21 and 22, only.
- Long Beach will open Dec. 20 and 21, only
Digging in all three areas will be confined to the hours between noon and midnight. Harvesters must take only the first 15 razor clams they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container. No digging is allowed in the three-quarter-mile reserve areas marked with orange poles and signs.
Simons noted that two beach areas will remain closed during the winter months, but may reopen for spring digging. These closed areas are Kalaloch and the area known as Mocrocks, which includes Iron Springs, Roosevelt, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
Simons said an additional test for domoic acid will be conducted on Sunday, but expects that the results will allow the openings to proceed as scheduled.
"All of the tests recently conducted at those beaches have shown that the clams are safe for eating," Simons said. "This is a great recreational opportunity that should make for some happy holidays."