First fall clam dig OK’d for Friday, Saturday

Fall clam digging will begin this Friday evening after tests on Monday found Long Beach Peninsula clams safe to eat.

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday announced the razor clam dig scheduled for this Friday and Saturday on the Washington coast will go ahead, after this Monday’s third round of marine toxin testing found Long Beach Peninsula clams safe to eat.

This week’s digs are approved for the following days and tides:

• Oct. 6, Friday, 7:49 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

• Oct. 7, Saturday, 8:33 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Shellfish managers generally recommend showing up at the beach about an hour before low tide. No digging will be allowed on any beach before noon.

The daily limit for the Peninsula is back to the 15 clams harvested. Last spring, the limit was temporarily increased, but that no longer is the case.

Last week’s second set of testing for the naturally occurring marine toxin domoic acid found safe levels, but an increase from the prior week. The Washington Department of Health ordered an unusual third round of tests to make certain levels were in the process of spiking upward. This week’s tests offered reassurance that they are not. On Long Beach Peninsula, 9 ppm was the highest result found for domoic acid in this week’s samples. A level of 19 ppm or less is required before digging is allowed. A level of 52 µg/100g of paralytic shellfish poison was found; the action level is 80 µg/100g for PSP. Levels of 10 ppm of domoic and 43 µg/100g of PSP was found at Twin Harbors beach in north Pacific/south Grays Harbor county.

For more information about recreational razor clamming, visit WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams.

Additional proposed razor clam digs through December are listed below, pending safe test results before each series of dates is finalized:

• Nov. 2, Thursday, 6:03 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis

• Nov. 3, Friday, 6:47 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Nov. 4, Saturday, 7:31 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

• Nov. 5, Sunday, 7:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Dec. 1, Friday, 4:42 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Copalis

• Dec. 2, Saturday, 6:49 p.m.; -1.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Dec. 3, Sunday, 6:15 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

• Dec. 4, Monday, 7:02 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Dec. 31, Sunday, 5:12 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said that before receiving the test results he had received a number of calls from diggers about an erroneous story that suggested that ocean beaches would remain closed to digging.

“A map on the Washington Department of Health’s website indicates that beaches are closed to razor clam digging up until they are cleared to open by the test results,” Ayres said. “We’re pleased that we are able to move ahead with this opening as scheduled.”

WDFW has tentatively scheduled another dig for Nov. 2-5, pending results of future toxin tests. More information on planned digs can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 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.

Ayres noted that throughout the 2017-18 razor clam season, a research team from the University of Maryland will be out on the beaches seeking volunteers to participate in a survey about razor clam consumption and harvesting practices. For more information, contact Lynn Grattan at 877-668-4559 or LGrattan@som.umaryland.edu.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.

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