OLYMPIA – Clam diggers today got the green light to proceed with a razor clam dig March 6, 7 and 8 on four ocean beaches after a series of marine toxin tests showed that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
Long Beach, Mocrocks, Copalis and Twin Harbors beaches will be open for digging each of those days after noon.
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. The razor clam fishery at Kalaloch is jointly managed by WDFW and Olympic National Park.
However, Ayres said he was hopeful that conditions at Kalaloch would improve by April, when WDFW has tentatively scheduled two more razor clam digs on coastal beaches.
Those openings – the first of the spring season – are tentatively planned for April 9, 10 and 11 and April 23, 24 and 25, pending the results of future toxin tests.
“After being closed to digging throughout the fall season, the clams at Kalaloch are now very close to meeting state and federal health standards,” Ayres said. “We’re really hoping we can open all five coastal beaches to digging when the spring season begins next month.”
This month’s three-day opening marks the last of the fall season, when digging is restricted to afternoon and evening tides, Ayres said. Any 2004-05 annual shellfish/seaweed or combination license purchased since April 1, 2004 is valid for participation in that dig.
However, diggers must purchase a new license for 2005-06 to participate in any digs scheduled after April 1, 2005. The two spring openings tentatively planned in April are scheduled during morning hours before noon.
“We know people look forward to morning clam digs, and we planned the season accordingly,” said Ayres, noting that any additional digs after those in April will depend on the number of harvestable clams remaining under the state’s quota.
For best results, Ayres recommends that clammers start digging at least one hour before low tide. Low tides applicable during scheduled digs in March and April are:
- March 6 (Sunday): 3:21 p.m., +0.3
- March 7 (Monday): 4:18 p.m., -0.1
- March 8 (Tuesday): 5:08 p.m., -0.4
- April 9 (Saturday): 7:37 a.m., -0.6
- April 10 (Sunday): 8:20 a.m., -0.8
- April 11 (Monday): 9:01 a.m., -0.7
- April 23 (Saturday): 6:41 a.m., -0.1
- April 24 (Sunday): 7:21 a.m., -0.7
- April 25 (Monday): 8:02 a.m., -1.1
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.
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 has been selling licenses at the Willapa Bay Field Station, 26700 Sandridge Rd., Ocean Park, on the Long Beach Peninsula. Licenses for this month’s dig will be sold Sunday, March 6th and Monday, March 7 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, March 8 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.