LONG BEACH — Razor clam diggers on the Long Beach Peninsula have harvested 45.4 percent of this season’s miserly local allocation of just over 800,000 clams, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reported earlier this month.
Rough surf on the Peninsula interfered with two of the three days open to clamming Dec. 2, 3 and 4. On Saturday, Dec. 2, an estimated 6,125 diggers tried their luck but averaged only 2.7 clams apiece, for a daily total of 16,295. Dec. 3 was better, with 4,443 diggers averaging 10.9 clams each. The number of diggers plunged on Monday, Dec. 4, to 1,009, but they averaged 13.4 clams.
In all during the three days, 77,587 clams were harvested, WDFW said. This brought the total three-day harvest to 78,587 on the Peninsula, with 11,578 digging trips resulting in an average of 6.8 clams per trip. Combined with five earlier digging days, the season total through Dec. 4 was 396,146 clams, and average of 10.9 clams per trip. Harvest on Washington’s outer coast as a whole was 962,647 through Dec. 4. Twin Harbors beach — from the mouth of Willapa Bay to just south of Westport, has seen a harvest of 208,877 clams, or 41.2 percent of the total 2017-18 season allowable catch for that beach. Farther north, Copalis beach had a harvest of 233,140 through early December, 39.4 percent of their total allowable catch for 2017-18. Mocrocks beach’s total was 164,125, or only 21.1 percent of their total allowable catch.
Clam populations along the coast went into a downturn this season after being very strong the year before, when they were mostly off limits to harvest due to lingering impacts from a toxin algal bloom. WDFW decided on conservative harvest targets to ensure plenty of clams survive to rebuild the population.