Second October razor clam dig approved, November digs tentatively set

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 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.

The department has also tentatively scheduled additional digs Nov. 1-8 and Nov. 15-20, provided upcoming marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

“Razor clam digging is so popular and important to coastal communities that we always strive to announce tentative digs as far in advance as possible to allow folks to mark their calendars,” said Ayres. “Low-tide levels for the first tentative November dig are some of the very best we’ll have all season.”

WDFW will announce the final word on upcoming digs after marine toxin tests have been completed. Those digs are tentatively scheduled on the following dates and low tides:

  • Nov. 1, Friday, 5:52 pm; 0.1 feet; Twin Harbors and Mocrocks
  • Nov. 2, Saturday, 6:36 pm; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks
  • Nov. 3, Sunday, 6:16 pm; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, and Mocrocks
  • Nov. 4, Monday, 6:59 pm; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, and Mocrocks
  • Nov. 5, Tuesday, 7:45 pm; -1.3 feet; Long Beach and Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 6, Wednesday, 8:33 pm; -1.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 7, Thursday, 9:24 pm; -1.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 8, Friday, 10:19 pm; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors

The dates and low tides for the second November opener follow here:

  • Nov. 15, Friday, 5:01 pm; -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks
  • Nov. 16, Saturday, 5:42 pm; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks
  • Nov. 17, Sunday, 6:20 pm; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, and Mocrocks
  • Nov. 18, Monday, 6:57 pm; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 19, Tuesday, 7:33 pm; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 20, Wednesday, 8:09 pm; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors

Comprehensive information about razor clams – from updates on tentative digs to how-to advice on digging and cooking – is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/ .

Marine toxin prevents opening at Long Beach, delays decision on remaining beaches

PSP is a marine toxin produced by a certain type of algae that can cause paralysis and even death if consumed in sufficient quantities.

Ayres said toxin levels in clams dug this week at Long Beach violate health standards established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ruling out an opening at that beach.  Early next week, WDFW will conduct additional tests on clams collected at the other beaches, where PSP levels also appear to be on the rise. 

"It’s always disappointing to cancel a razor clam dig, and we hate to make people wait for answers on the other beaches," Ayres said.  "But public safety comes first, which is why we test razor clams before every public dig."

Ayres said final decisions on a revised razor-clam opening will be announced by Thursday, Jan. 28.  Unless it is canceled, the dig at Twin Harbors will be delayed, since it was originally scheduled to open Jan. 27, Ayres said. 

Updates on the razor clam dig scheduled for next week will be posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/razorclm/season.htm .

Frank Cox, marine biotoxin coordinator for the Washington Department of Health, said he suspects PSP is moving northward from the Oregon coast, where beaches have been closed to razor clam digging since December.

"There are a lot of uncertainties about how this will affect Washington beaches, which is why we recommend erring on the side of caution," he said.

Cox noted that the PSP toxin cannot be removed by cooking or freezing.  Although no human fatalities from PSP have been reported in Washington since 1942, people still get sick every few years – usually after eating toxic shellfish collected from closed beaches, Cox said. 

No coastal beaches have been closed to razor-clam digging because of elevated PSP levels since 1993, Ayres said.  A different marine toxin, domoic acid, prompted a season-long closure in 2002-03.