OLYMPIA - Clam diggers can proceed with a razor clam dig Feb. 5, 6 and 7 at four of Washington's ocean beaches, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The department confirmed plans to conduct the three-day dig at Long Beach, Mocrocks, Copalis and Twin Harbors beaches on evening tides after a series of marine toxin tests showed that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
No digging will be allowed at any beach before noon any day during the three-day opening.
As with previous digs this season, Kalaloch Beach will remain closed to razor clam digging because domoic acid levels there continue to exceed state and federal health standards, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
"We plan to continue sampling of razor clams at Kalaloch, and hope to be able to allow a dig there sometime soon," said Ayres, noting that Kalaloch Beach is jointly managed by WDFW and the Olympic National Park.
This month's opening is the second of three digs scheduled by WDFW in early 2005. The next opening is tentatively scheduled on evening tides March 6-8, 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 Februrary are:
- Feb. 5 (Saturday): 3:41 p.m., +0.3
- Feb. 6 (Sunday): 4:38 p.m., -0.3
- Feb. 7 (Monday): 5:30 p.m., -0.7
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 2004-05 annual shellfish/seaweed or combination license purchased since April 1 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 (http://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" - Saturday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.