Summary Report of the 2019 Commercial Fishery for Razor Clams (Siliqua patula)

Category: Shrubsteppe

Published: December 2019

Pages: 11

Author(s): Zach Forster

Introduction

Fishery Objectives and Preseason Planning

In anticipation of a commercial razor clam season in 2019, which was primarily due to low levels of domoic acid in razor clams collected on recreational beaches adjacent to the Willapa Spits, a mailer was sent out to participants in early March with season information including scheduled dates to collect biotoxin samples to open the season April 1.

Fishery managers began conducting biotoxin sampling on the Willapa spits in March. Pre-season test results indicated domoic acid levels were below the regulatory closure level.  On March 25, 2019 WDFW announced the fishery would open on April 1, 2019 and run just over twelve weeks, ending on June 24, 2019.   Regulations for the commercial razor clam fishery allow digging only on “detached” (i.e. islands) spits. Nearing the end of the season, shifting sand filled in a channel of water that had separated the spits from the north end of Leadbetter Point.  At low tide the southernmost spit and the northern end of Leadbetter Point essentially became continuous, and could be easily crossed.  In the past when this has happened boundary poles have been installed at the north end of Leadbetter Point to provide a clear delineation between it and the spits.  Again, boundary post were installed in 2019 to eliminate any uncertainty.