OLYMPIA – Several ocean beaches will open to razor clam digging in early February if test results demonstrate the clams are safe to eat, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Dan Ayres, WDFW razor clam biologist, said three beaches are scheduled to open Feb. 7 and a fourth on Feb. 9 pending the results of marine toxin tests by the Washington Department of Health the first week of February.
"Clam digging has been good throughout the season and we haven't had to cancel any openings because of marine toxins," Ayres said. "But we always want to see the final test results before we give the green light to start digging."
If toxin levels remain low, digging will be allowed from noon to midnight at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch beaches from Feb. 7 through Feb. 10. (Twin Harbors includes Westport, Grayland and North Cove beaches; the Kalaloch razor clam area stretches between South Beach Campground and Brown's Point, just south of Beach Trail 3.)
Mocrocks beach – from Copalis River to the Moclips River – is scheduled to open for two days, Feb. 9 and Feb. 10. As with the other beaches, digging will be allowed only between noon and midnight.
Diggers should take note that the Copalis beach – including the area between the Grays Harbor North Jetty and the Copalis River (Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis) – will remain closed to harvest by non-tribal diggers.
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.
Digging is always prohibited in three quarter-mile-wide razor clam reserves, which are marked by 10-foot orange metal poles with signs. The reserves are located just south of the Ocean City approach on Copalis; at the county line approach on Twin Harbors Beach; and 2.8 miles north of the Oysterville approach on Long Beach.
Diggers are reminded that they must have their 2000 licenses, as described in the WDFW Fishing in Washington pamphlet. The 2000 license is good until March 31, 2001.