Open letter to the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission:
We respectfully request that the commission add an agenda item to the May 10, 2019 meeting. We firmly believe that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Policy C3009 is being violated by DFW managers. That policy states, in part, that the state’s razor clam resource is to be managed to, “…Maximize Recreational Opportunity…”
Do razor clams move laterally? DFW managers say they don’t and refuse to consider the overwhelming evidence that the theory behind the determination of recreational harvest is clearly wrong. That theory is the foundation upon which all decisions are made. Unfortunately for the public, that underpinning is as untethered as the ocean currents and shifting sands that are the habitat of this important resource.
• In the fall of 2018 DFW determined that the average clam size in the Long Beach razor clam management zone was 2.11 inches in shell length. The clams harvested April 20-21 are inexplicably large. To what can we attribute such phenomenal growth?
• In the fall of 2018 DFW found only one transect out of 24 in the Long Beach razor clam management zone with clam density (inclusive of all sizes) exceeding one clam per square meter. If 96 percent of our beach was barren last fall, how did it become broadly and densely populated with large clams?
• In the fall of 2018 DFW decided to give the Long Beach razor clam management zone a 2018-2019 total allowable catch of 333,557 clams. We’ve clearly exceeded that number and there’s no apparent reduction in either the density or the average size of the catch.
Either DFW’s management theory is wrong or tens of thousands of people are digging imaginary clams. We ask that the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission review the chronic failures to accurately determine clam population characteristics and make the appropriate changes so that we discontinue the waste of our razor clam resource.
We also ask that you direct the Department of Fish and Wildlife to open the Long Beach razor clam management zone on May 18, 19, and 20, 2019.
OCEAN PARK AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE