The results of marine toxin tests are in, confirming that clams are safe to eat, and clearing the way for the spring’s first razor-clam digs on ocean beaches later this month.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today set March 26 - April 1 openings at various ocean beaches. Prospective diggers should note that the opening starts on evening tides, then switches to morning tides for the final four days, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
"The digs span the seasonal change, when the lowest tides shift from evening to morning hours," Ayres said. "As in past months, razor-clam digging will be allowed after noon for the first three days of the opening, but will then switch to morning hours starting Monday, March 29."
The Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival ( http://www.oceanshores.org/clams.html ) is also scheduled to correspond with the March 27 dig on Copalis Beach.
Days, tides and beach openings for this dig are:
- Friday, March 26, (4:29 p.m., +0.1) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Kalaloch
- Saturday, March 27, (5:19 p.m., -0.1) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Sunday, March 28, (6:04 p.m., 0.0) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Monday, March 29, (6:35 A.M., -0.1) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
- Tuesday, March 30, (7:22 A.M., -0.7) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
- Wednesday, March 31, (8:07 A.M., -1.0) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
- Thursday, April 1, (8:52 A.M., -1.0) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
The National Park Service scheduled the dig at Kalaloch Beach, which is located within the Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at other coastal beaches.
Another dig is tentatively scheduled on morning tides in mid-April at Long Beach, pending final marine toxin tests.
Any 2009-10 annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination license is valid through March 31. However, a new license will be required for anyone age 15 or older to participate in the April 1 dig. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov .
Ayres said WDFW expects to announce additional razor-clam digs in late April or early May on most beaches, noting that several natural events have left more clams than usual available for harvest in spring. Those events include stormy weather in December, a marine toxin closure in January and last week’s tsunami advisory on the coast.
"Razor-clam diggers had a bumpy ride earlier this year, and we’re doing everything we can to add some additional digging opportunities," Ayres said.
Beaches open include:
- Long Beach , which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
- Twin Harbors Beach , which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the mouth of Grays Harbor.
- Copalis Beach , which extends from the Grays Harbor North Jetty to the Copalis River, and includes beaches near Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut and Ocean City.
- Mocrocks Beach , which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
- Kalaloch Beach , from the South Beach campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. Visitors to the park are advised to consult area bulletin boards for park safety and other information.