Razor clam diggers can look forward to a six-day opening starting tomorrow (April 26) on various ocean beaches and will have an increased daily limit of 25 clams at Long Beach.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved the dig on morning tides at four ocean beaches after toxin test results show the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
State shellfish managers agreed to increase the daily limit for this dig at Long Beach, which has been closed much of the razor clam season due to elevated marine toxin levels, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
“We wanted to provide diggers with some additional opportunity at Long Beach since we know there are plenty of clams there for harvest,” Ayres said.
The increased limit of 25 clams per day applies only at Long Beach, Ayres said. Diggers at Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis can harvest the typical limit of 15 clams per day. Diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams (or first 25 clams at Long Beach) they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
Ayres noted the opening coincides with the annual Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, which is held April 29 and 30. For more information, visit the festival website at http://longbeachrazorclamfestival.com/.
The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and morning low tides:
- April 26, Wednesday, 7:09 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
- April 27, Thursday, 7:55 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
- April 28, Friday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.8 feet, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
- April 29, Saturday, 9:32 a.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
- April 30, Sunday, 10:24 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
- May 1, Monday, 11:20 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.
State health officials recently requested additional toxin tests at all four beaches after increased amounts of the algae that can cause domoic acid were observed in ocean waters. A natural toxin, domoic acid can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
“The latest round of test results indicate we’re in the clear for digging at all four beaches,” Ayres said.
A decision about possible additional dates in May will be announced following another round of toxin tests next week.
State wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand on the southern section of Twin Harbors beach and at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula. The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.”
To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line.
More details on how to avoid disturbing nesting birds can be found on the WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.