Diggers

Diggers scoured the surf in search of clams last year.

LONG BEACH and OCEAN PARK — Shellfish managers have scheduled 39 razor clam digs on ocean beaches for dates through December. State shellfish managers have also approved the first four days of razor clam digging starting Sept. 16 after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

The estimated total of harvestable clams coastwide is predicted to be double that of last year, among the highest in decades. Tens of millions of clams are expected to be available in Pacific County.

Final approval of tentatively scheduled openings depends on results of marine toxin tests. Digging is also contingent upon continued guidance by public health officials monitoring covid-19 in coastal communities.

At the Long Beach City Council meeting on Sept. 8, Mayor Jerry Phillips said the city was able to work with Port of Peninsula and come up with $2,000 to have additional porta-potties located at beach approaches. He said the clam digs will be a “shot in the arm” for local merchants and believes the digs can be done in a safe way.

“When you compare it to the fishing out in the river, with the boats out there having 10 to 12 people in one boat, shoulder-to-shoulder with no mask fishing, the beach is much longer, bigger and wider open with air and everything,” Phillips said.

Covid safety required

Public health officials will be closely monitoring new covid-19 infection rates throughout the digging season and adjustments to the schedule may be made to reduce public health risk in-season.

“Close proximity can accelerate the spread of covid-19, so we’re asking the public to take steps to thoroughly prepare for their visits to avoid increasing risk,” said Larry Phillips, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife coastal region director, who notes that the department is being guided by risk assessments by local and state health officials. Health agencies are asking people to:

• Stay home if sick,

• Practice social distancing of at least six feet,

• Mask up,

• Bring personal protective equipment like hand sanitizer,

• Leave no trace: Pack out belongings and garbage,

• Purchase licenses ahead of the trip,

• Bring non-cash payment methods to reduce contact, and

• Follow local ordinances and guidelines.

“Abundant razor clam populations are allowing for numerous digging opportunities this year,” said Dan Ayres. “But, it is important that clam diggers only dig where it is allowed, pay close attention to the variable day openings on Copalis and Mocrocks, prefer weekday digging if possible to avoid crowds, and spread out while digging, especially now.” Razor clam diggers can find detailed beach maps that indicate locations and local names for beaches on WDFW’s razor clam webpages.

The approved razor clam digs to date, along with low tides and beaches, are listed below:

A.M. TIDES:

Sept. 16, Wednesday, 6:17 am, -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Sept. 17, Thursday, 6:58 am, -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Sept. 18, Friday, 7:39 am, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Sept. 19, Saturday, 8:19 am, -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

No digging is allowed after noon for digs where low tide occurs in the morning.

The tentative razor clam through December, along with low tides and beaches, are listed below:

P.M. TIDES:

Sept. 20, Sunday, 9:43 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Sept. 21, Monday, 10:37 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Sept. 22, Tuesday, 11:37 pm, -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

•••

Oct. 16, Friday, 7:00 pm, -0.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 17, Saturday, 7:47 pm, -1.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Oct. 18, Sunday, 8:35 pm, -1.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 19, Monday, 9:24 pm, -1.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Oct. 20, Tuesday, 10:16 pm, -1.0; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 21, Wednesday, 11:12 pm, -0.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

•••

Oct. 31, Saturday, 7:26 pm, 0.0; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 1, Sunday, 6:59 pm, -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 2, Monday, 7:33 pm, -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 3, Tuesday, 8:08 pm, -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

•••

Nov. 13, Friday, 4:58 pm, -0.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 14, Saturday, 5:45 pm, -1.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 15, Sunday, 6:32 pm, -1.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 16, Monday, 7:19 pm, -1.8; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 17, Tuesday, 8:06 pm, -1.6; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 18, Wednesday, 8:56 pm, -1.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 19, Thursday, 9:47 pm, -0.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

•••

Dec. 1, Tuesday, 7:14 pm, -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 2, Wednesday, 7:51 pm, -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 3, Thursday, 8:30 pm, -0.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 4, Friday, 9:12 pm, -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

•••

Dec. 12, Saturday, 4:44 pm, -0.8; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 13, Sunday, 5:32 pm, -1.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 14, Monday, 6:19 pm, -1.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 15, Tuesday, 7:05pm, -1.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 16, Wednesday, 7:50 pm, -1.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 17, Thursday, 8:35 pm, -1.0; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 18, Friday, 9:21 pm, -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

•••

Dec. 28, Monday, 5:43 pm, -0.2; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 29, Tuesday, 6:20 pm, -0.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 30, Wednesday, 6:57 pm, -0.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 31, Thursday, 7:34 pm, -0.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Standing rules

No digging is allowed before noon during digs when low tide occurs in the afternoon or evening.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach.

Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from some 600 license vendors around the state. WDFW recommends buying your license before visiting coastal beach communities for this razor clam season.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches 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.

More information can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

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