Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Recent biotoxin tests performed by the Washington Department of Health indicate that the first pre-season razor clam sample collected from the detached spits of Willapa Bay was below the regulatory closure level.
The next biotoxin sample is scheduled to be collected March 20. We anticipate results on or near March 22 with an official opening announcement to follow on March 25. At this time the season is tentatively scheduled to open Monday, April 1. The season is scheduled to close on Monday, June 24 at that time we will evaluate the fishery and consider options including a season extension.
We understand this is short notice, however given issues with biotoxins in recent years it was necessary to avoid the potential loss of license dollars to diggers/buyers. The WDFW licensing staff as well as the Department of Natural Resources licensing staff is aware of this short window and will be prepared to process an increase of licenses the last week of March.
The webpage and hotline will be updated with the latest biotoxin results as biotoxin sampling continues on the detached spits in Willapa Bay.
If you have any questions, please call:
Zach Forster, Coastal Shellfish
Willapa Bay Field Station, (360) 665-4166
|2019 Commercial Razor Clam Fishery
||PSP Meat (µg/100g)
||DSP Meat (µg/100g)
||Domoic Result (ppm)
Commercial harvest of razor clams is an old but small fishery in Washington. Each year, the fishery opens during the
spring for eight-weeks. Typically, 50 to 100 diggers participate in this open access fishery. The season is slated to
start on April 1 of each year once biotoxin levels have been deemed safe by the Washington Department of Health.
Commercial harvest is allowed only on the detached Willapa Spits, located at the mouth of Willapa Bay. The spits are
accessible only by boat. Familiarity with the area is vital; the mouth of Willapa Bay is very treacherous.
In order to participate, all diggers need to obtain a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commercial Razor Clam
license and a DNR right of entry (ROE) authorization. The license fee is $285 for Washington State residents and $360 for
non-residents. DNR charges a $100 application and use fee to harvesters.
Diggers must also either register with a Department of Health certified razor clam dealer or become certified by
Department of Health individually.
To purchase clams, individuals or companies must obtain the following items:
- Department of Health Shellfish License, and Certification and Inspection of your
operation. Contact Darin Klein at (360-236-3330for an Application and Plan of Operation
- WDFW Wholesale Dealer's License.
If you plan to buy clams and do not have a Wholesale Dealer's License, contact WDFW Licensing, (360) 902-2464 for
appropriate application forms.
The fee for a wholesale dealer license is $355.
In order for an individual harvester to participate in the fishery, you will need items #1 and #2 below if you are
selling to a WDOH certified company.
- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Commercial Razor Clam License. Each person applying
for a commercial razor clam license must complete and sign an application. The fees are $285 for Washington
state residents or $360 for non-residents. License applications are available at: http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/commercial/forms/razorclm.pdf.
(See section below on Mandatory Digger Registration for additional information on the licensing
- The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Right-of-Entry (ROE) authorization. All commercial uses on
state-owned aquatic lands require authorization for the use of state-owned aquatic lands and the harvest of public
resources. DNR charges a $100 application and use fee to harvesters. Payment can be made by CHECK only, not cash or
Commercial razor clam harvesters have several options to obtain and submit the required DNR right-of-entry
- Email Sandra Green at email@example.com or call (360) 902-1065 to
receive a permit application either electronically or hard copy; or
- Visit DNR main office building in Olympia: Natural Resources Building, DNR Aquatics Division, 1111 Washington St., SE,
3rd floor Olympia, WA phone 360-902-1100
Mandatory Digger Registration
ll diggers are required to register with a certified razor clam dealer to participate in the fishery. To register,
diggers should directly contact a dealer certified by the Department of Health (WDOH) and arrange to be included on the
dealer's list of registered diggers. For a current list of certified dealers, contact the Department of Health at (360)
236-3330 or the Department of Fish and Wildlife (360) 902-2464. Once a dealer(s) has agreed to register you with their
company, they will submit your name to Licensing at WDFW. There is no fee to register. WDFW Licensing will only
sell commercial razor clam licenses to those individuals whose names appear on the WDFW list of registered
diggers. If you apply by mail, your license will not be issued until your name has been received. If you plan
to purchase a license in person, first call WDFW Licensing at (360) 902-2464 to confirm that WDFW has your name
registered. All commercial diggers must obtain certification tags from the buyer(s) they are registered with prior to
harvesting any clams.
All containers of razor clams must be tagged at the time of harvest regardless of registration status. Diggers
will have to make sure they obtain certification tags from the company they plan on delivering to before they dig their
catch. Untagged buckets of clams are subject to seizure. For questions regarding razor clam certification contact Darin
Klein – WDOH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (360) 236-3330.
Companies may add diggers to their Plan of Operation during the season but WDFW will not issue licenses until an
updated list is provided by WDOH. Diggers may change companies during season but must follow the same steps described
above. The list of diggers for each company will be provided to WDFW Enforcement. Citations can be issued for violations
of either WDFW or WDOH regulations.
Wholesale dealers must complete a fish ticket for all commercially harvested razor clams (WAC 220-69-240 or WAC 220-69-241) whether clams are sold, kept by the
digger for crab bait, or intended for personal use (WAC 220-20-026). Personal use is limited to one
recreational limit (15 clams) per day per digger and must be recorded in the "Take Home" section of the fish
receiving ticket (WAC 220-20-026).
Diggers must carry their commercial license on their person while harvesting and while in possession of clams.
Unlicensed persons are not permitted to assist with harvesting operations. Diggers should remember that a license is
required to "take, dig for or possess" razor clams. Unlicensed digging is not only unfair; it is inconsistent
with the policy that fisheries be conducted in an orderly manner. The minimum age for licensing in the commercial razor
clam fishery is 16 years.
If you intend to sell clams at some location other than the point of landing a "transport ticket" must be
filled out and kept with the clams until the point of sale. Transport tickets are available through WDFW Licensing at
Olympia; a limited supply is available at the Region 6 office at Montesano.