OLYMPIA — Clam diggers have one last chance to dig razor clams this season during the final opening set for April 21 and 22 to coincide with the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival.
State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved the dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. Domoic acid levels were 5 parts per million or less on the Long Beach Peninsula, well under the 20 ppm threshold.
Clam season ordinarily extends into early May, but WDFW surveys last fall found decreased clam populations, resulting in a sharp curtailment of the allowable catch for the 2017-18 season. The agency also has been cutting back on the spring season in recent years to avoid conflicts with endangered northern snowy plovers, which nest at Leadbetter Point.
Mocrocks — between Moclips and the Copalis River — will be open for digging for four days, April 19-22, joined by Long Beach and Twin Harbors during the weekend of April 21-22. Copalis — the area between the Copalis River’s mouth and Ocean Shores — will be open only on Saturday, April 21.
“Since this is likely the last dig of the spring season, we expect a good turnout,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW’s coastal shellfish manager.
For the first two days of the opening, digging must be completed by noon. That is not the case, however, for the final two days, when low tides occur close to noon those days, Ayres said. WDFW has extended digging times for April 21-22, as listed below.
The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and morning low tides:
• April 19, Thursday, 9:46 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Mocrocks
• April 20, Friday, 10:37 a.m.; -0.7 feet; Mocrocks
• April 21, Saturday, 11:34 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis (digging hours will be extended to 1 p.m.)
• April 22, Sunday, 12:38 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks (digging hours will be extended to 2 p.m.)
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 2018-19 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.