OLYMPIA - The first razor
clam dig of 2005 will get under way next week on four razor clam beaches in
Long Beach, Twin Harbors,
Copalis and Mocrocks beaches will all be open to razor clam digging between
noon and midnight Jan. 7, 8 and 9, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
(WDFW) announced today.
The department confirmed
plans to conduct the three-day dig after a series of marine toxin tests showed
that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal
The exception was Kalaloch
Beach in the Olympic National Park, where a toxin-producing bloom of pseudo-nitzschia
algae washed ashore last July. Jointly managed by WDFW and the Olympic National
Park, Kalaloch Beach has remained closed to clam digging because domoic acid
levels there continue to exceed state and federal health standards, Ayres said.
"The good news is that toxin levels at Kalaloch are finally falling,"
he said. "With luck, we should be able to open the beach to clam digging
in the months ahead."
The razor clam opening in
January is the first of three digs scheduled by WDFW in early 2005. Subsequent
digs, tentatively scheduled on evening tides Feb. 5-7 and March 6-8, are contingent
on the results of future marine toxin tests, Ayres said.
Once those digs have been
completed, WDFW will assess the total harvest since October and determine whether
enough clams remain for future openings, Ayres said.
"We know that a lot
of people like to dig clams during morning low tides, so we hope to schedule
some morning digs in spring," he said.
For best results, Ayres
recommends that clammers start digging at least one hour before low tide. Evening
low tides during the three-day opening in January are:
- Jan. 7 (Friday): 4:01
- Jan. 8 (Saturday): 4:55
- Jan. 9 (Sunday): 5:47,
Low tides during the openings
tentatively scheduled in February and March are:
- Feb. 5 (Saturday): 3:41
- Feb. 6 (Sunday): 4:38
- Feb. 7 (Monday): 5:30
- March 6 (Sunday): 3:21
- March 7 (Monday): 4:18
- March 8 (Tuesday): 5:08
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.
Ayres reminds those planning
to dig razor clams during the upcoming opening that a license is required for
anyone age 15 or older. Any 2004 annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination
license is still valid.
One new option is a "razor
clam only" license now available in both annual and three-day versions.
Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW web
site at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov
For anyone needing to purchase
a license, Ayres strongly recommends doing so before leaving home to avoid long
lines that often form at coastal license dealers during a dig.
However, to help ease the
pressure on coastal dealers, WDFW will sell licenses at the Willapa Bay Field
Station, 26700 Sandridge Rd., Ocean Park, on the Long Beach Peninsula. Licenses
will be sold at the Field Station - also known as the "Nahcotta Lab"
- Friday, Jan. 7 through Sunday, Jan. 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.