WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

November 30, 2004
Contact: Dan Ayres, WDFW, (360) 249-4628

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December razor clam dig hinges on second toxin test

OLYMPIA - Clam diggers will have an opportunity to dig razor clams Dec. 10, 11 and 12 if a second marine toxin test confirms that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Four beaches - Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks - passed the first round of tests for domoic acid "with flying colors," said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

The exception is Kalaloch Beach, where domoic acid levels in razor clams remain elevated from a toxin-producing bloom of pseudo-nitzschia algae washed ashore last July. Jointly managed by WDFW and Olympic National Park, the razor clam fishery at Kalaloch will remain closed until tests show the clams there meet state and federal health standards.

Ayres said WDFW will announce the final decision about whether to proceed with the dig at the other four beaches by Dec. 6, based on the results of a second round of tests scheduled this week.

"We're now past the time of year when toxic blooms are most likely, so the outlook for a December dig on all beaches except Kalaloch is good," Ayres said. "But we always need to conduct two rounds of tests - as required by the Washington Department of Health - before we can give diggers the green light."

If the second round of testing goes as expected, digging will be allowed on evening tides Dec. 10, 11 and 12 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches. No digging will be allowed before noon those days on any of those beaches.

For best results, Ayres advises diggers to start digging at least one hour before low tide, noted below.

  • Dec. 10: 5:12 p.m., -0.7 ft.
  • Dec. 11: 6:01 p.m., -1.2 ft.
  • Dec. 12: 6:49 p.m., -1.5 ft.

Those interested in harvesting razor clams are reminded that a license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2004 annual shellfish/seaweed or combination license purchased last spring is still valid.

Prospective diggers who need to purchase a license are encouraged to do so before they leave home to avoid the lines at coastal outlets.

One new licensing 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.