Last year the final dig of the season was at the end of May, lasted only three days, and was at Twin Harbors only. This year, clam diggers hoping for a few late-season razor clam digs on Washington beaches will have plenty of options to consider.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today approved eight days of digging, beginning May 13. WDFW gave the OK for the series of digs after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed on any beach after noon.
The agency also announced a list of proposed digs, which would run May 27 through June 1. Final approval of these digs will depend on marine toxin tests that will be conducted closer to the start date, said Dan Ayres, WDFW shellfish manager. The agency will announce final approval based on the results of the tests.
Ayres noted that the next series of digs includes dates at Copalis and Mocrocks beaches, which are co-managed with the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN).
WDFW was able to add days at Copalis because the QIN provided clams from their share to the state share, said Phil Anderson, WDFW director.
“This is a perfect example of how WDFW and QIN work together to co-manage this resource,” Anderson said. “We appreciate QIN’s willingness to share a portion of their harvest quota with us thereby contributing to the success of these final digs and providing an economic boost to businesses in the area.”
The upcoming digs are scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:
- May 13, Tuesday, 6:21 a.m., -0.6 feet, Twin Harbors
- May 14, Wednesday, 7:02 a.m., -1.2 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach
- May 15, Thursday, 7:44 a.m., -1.5 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach
- May 16, Friday, 8:27 a.m., -1.7 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis
- May 17, Saturday, 9:12 a.m., -1.7 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
- May 18, Sunday, 9:59 a.m., -1.5 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
- May 19, Monday, 10:50 a.m., -1.1 feet, Twin Harbors
- May 20, Tuesday, 11:44 a.m., -0.6 feet, Twin Harbors
Digs that have been proposed but not yet approved are tentatively scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:
- May 27, Tuesday, 6:24 a.m., -1.0 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach
- May 28, Wednesday, 7:06 a.m., -1.3 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach
- May 29, Thursday, 7:45 a.m., -1.4 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
- May 30, Friday, 8:23 a.m., -1.2 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
- May 31, Saturday, 9:00 a.m., -1.0 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
- June 1, Sunday, 9:37 a.m., -0.7 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
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. Diggers may not harvest any part of another person’s daily limit, unless they possess a designated harvester card.
Clam diggers and other beachgoers should avoid disturbing western snowy plovers, said Brock Hoenes, WDFW wildlife biologist. The small white birds, which nest on the state’s coastal beaches from April through August, are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act as threatened and by the state as endangered.
Hoenes also asks that diggers avoid signed upland beach areas at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, which are closed to protect nesting western snowy plovers. At Long Beach, the closed area is located north of Oysterville Road from the state park boundary north to Leadbetter Point. At Twin Harbors, the closed area is located just south of Cranberry Beach Road and continues south for approximately 1.5 miles.
Razor clam diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2014-15 fishing license to harvest razor clams on state beaches. Fishing licenses of various kinds are available on the department’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.
For updates on upcoming digs, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.