Setting the 2003 commercial razor clam fishery was hindered by elevated biotoxin levels that persisted beginning in 2001 through the spring and summer of 2003. Plans were made for the fishery to open if the following criteria were met:
Biotoxins levels met Department of Health guidelines;
If possible, the recreational fishery had completed a spring season;
There was sufficient time to prosecute a commercial season of at least four weeks before any fall recreational opportunity was scheduled;
Industry would assist in collection of razor clams for biotoxin testing in-season.
A preseason public meeting was not held in 2003 because of the uncertainty regarding the fishery season. To facilitate communication with harvesters, a “hotline” based out of the Region 6 office was again established to provide commercial razor clam fishery and biotoxin sampling information. In future years, if the season is delayed past spring, license holders from the previous year will be notified several weeks in advance of any potential opening (pending toxin levels) by mail.