December 31, 2008
Contact: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-4628
Four-day razor clam dig approved starting Jan. 8
OLYMPIA – Clam diggers have received the go-ahead to proceed with a razor-clam dig starting Thursday, Jan. 8, with an additional dig tentatively planned for February.
Four evening digs are scheduled at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks Jan. 8-11, while Long Beach is scheduled for three digs Jan. 9-11. As with previous openers, digging will be allowed only during the hours between noon and midnight.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) authorized the digs after a series of marine toxin tests conducted by the Washington Department of Health confirmed the clams are safe to eat.
Harvest data from digs last fall showed there were enough clams on the four beaches to offer additional digging opportunities, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
“We had some rough weather during the fall openers, which prevented some people from getting out,” Ayres said. “The good news is there are plenty of clams to harvest. Now we just hope the weather cooperates.”
Additional openers are tentatively scheduled for certain beaches in February, depending on the outcome of marine toxin tests, Ayres said.
Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park will remain closed through the winter but may open in spring 2009 if the clam population grows to harvestable size.
Harvesters are allowed to take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.
A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2008 Washington state annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination license is still valid. Another option is a razor-clam only license available in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.
Ayres said the best time to start digging at all beaches is an hour or two before low tide. He suggests that clam diggers take lights or lanterns with them for safety purposes. He also recommends checking weather and surf forecasts before heading out.
Opening dates and evening low tides:
- Thursday, Jan. 8 (4:13 p.m., -0.2 ft.) Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Friday, Jan. 9 (5:07 p.m., -0.8 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Saturday, Jan. 10 (5:58 p.m., -1.1 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Sunday, Jan. 11, (6:45 p.m., -1.2 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Beaches scheduled to open are:
- Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
- Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
- Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
- Mocrocks Beach, which 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.
Digs tentatively scheduled for February:
- Friday, Feb. 6 (3:55 p.m., -0.1 ft.) Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Saturday, Feb. 7 (4:50 p.m., -0.4 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Sunday, Feb. 8 (5:39 p.m., -0.6 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Ayres also reminded diggers that Washington’s beaches, which are managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, are considered state highways and all rules of the road apply.
Under the law:
- Seatbelts must be worn at all times.
- The speed limit on the beach is 25 mph.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way and vehicles must yield at all times.
Also, visitors should not park on approaches to the beach in order to provide clear passage for vehicles that are entering or exiting.