OLYMPIA — Razor clam diggers can return to Long Beach and Copalis Beach later this week, state shellfish managers announced Tuesday.
Digs at both beaches are on evening tides and include a seven-day opening (Jan. 21 through 27) at Long Beach a one-day dig (Jan. 22) at Copalis Beach.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the digs on those two beaches after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat. All other beaches remain closed to recreational razor clam digging.
The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches, and low tides:
•Jan. 21, Thursday, 4:49 p.m.; - 0.4 feet, Long Beach
•Jan. 22, Friday, 5:35 p.m.; -0.7 feet, Long Beach, Copalis
•Jan. 23, Saturday, 6:16 p.m.; -0.8 feet, Long Beach
•Jan. 24, Sunday, 6:54 p.m.; -0.7 feet, Long Beach
•Jan. 25, Monday, 7:31 p.m.; -0.4 feet, Long Beach
•Jan. 26, Tuesday, 8:05 p.m.; 0.0 feet, Long Beach
•Jan. 27, Wednesday, 8:39 p.m.; 0.5 feet, Long Beach
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, noted the best digging usually occurs one to two hours prior to low tide.
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.
The department is limiting razor clam digging at Copalis to help ensure the beach will have openings throughout the spring.
“Over the last few openings, we had a concentrated effort at Copalis Beach, where we’ve harvested one-third of our annual quota already,” Ayres said.
Razor clam digging will remain closed on Washington’s other coastal beaches until domoic acid levels drop below the threshold of 20 parts per million set by state public health officials.
Domoic acid posed a problem for shellfish fisheries along Washington’s coast for much of 2015. The natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.
WDFW is continuing to monitor toxin levels on all Washington beaches and will open other areas as soon as clams are safe to eat.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2015-16 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.
More information about razor clams is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.