OLYMPIA – Razor clam diggers can look forward to at least two more openings – one in late March, the other in mid-April – provided that marine toxin levels remain within acceptable limits, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Dan Ayres, WDFW razor clam biologist, said the two openings announced today will give razor clam diggers a total of 11 more days of digging and are designed to use up the remaining non-tribal razor clam allocation for the year,
"It's possible we'll still have enough clams left after the next two digs for another opening at some beaches, but that remains to be seen," Ayres said.
The next digging period will run from noon March 27 through noon March 31, starting with evening tides during the weekdays, then switching to morning tides on the weekend.
Long Beach will be open for digging all five days, but the four other razor clam beaches – Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch – will be closed for one or more of those days according to the following schedule:
- March 27 through March 28 – All beaches except Copalis and Kalaloch (p.m. tides only).
- March 29 - All beaches except Kalaloch (p.m. tides only).
- March 30 - All beaches (a.m. tides only).
- March 31 - Long Beach and Kalaloch only (a.m. tides only).
The last scheduled opening of the 2001-02 season will run for six days, from April 12 through April 17, at all five razor clam beaches. Digging will be restricted to morning tides and will close each day at noon.
To participate in the April opening, diggers will need to purchase a 2002-03 license – valid from April 1, 2002 through March 31, 2003 – or a two-day license, Ayres said.
As with previous openings, Ayres said the digs scheduled for late March and April were determined in conjunction with the Quinault Indian Nation, which cooperatively manages the razor clam fishery with WDFW on beaches north of Grays Harbor.
Final approval of those openings will announced several days ahead of time, once WDFW receives the results of marine toxin tests conducted by the Washington Department of Health. As usual, the final word on those seasons will be announced to the news media, posted on the agency's website and included on WDFW's toll-free Shellfish Hotline message (866-880-5431).
Washington's recreational razor clam beaches include:
- Long Beach, including the entire Long Beach Peninsula.
- Twin Harbors, including Westport, Grayland, Midway and North Cove.
- Copalis, including Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis.
- Mocrocks, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
- Kalaloch, from the South Beach Campground to Brown's Point (just south of Beach Trail #3) within the Olympic National Park.
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 prohibited in the three one-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.