01/07/2016 – J. W. Snyder – NWFN
WDFW approves razor clam digs at Copalis and Long Beach
OLYMPIA – State shellfish managers have approved razor clam digs starting later this week at Long Beach and Copalis Beach.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed the digs after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those two beaches are safe to eat. All other beaches remain closed to recreational razor clam digging.
Digs at both beaches are on evening tides and include a two-day opening (Jan. 8 and 9) at Copalis and an eight-day dig (Jan. 7 to 14) at Long Beach.
“The season opener at Copalis over the Christmas holiday was a huge success with most diggers filling their limits,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.
“We’re excited that we can open Long Beach for the first time this season.”
Razor clam digging will remain closed on Washington’s other coastal beaches until domoic acid levels drop below the threshold (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.
The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches, and low tides:
- Jan. 7, Thursday, 4:57 p.m.; 0.1 feet, Long Beach
- Jan. 8, Friday, 5:37 p.m.; -0.4 feet, Long Beach, Copalis
- Jan. 9, Saturday, 6:16 p.m.; -0.8 feet, Long Beach, Copalis
- Jan. 10, Sunday, 6:55 p.m.; -1.0 feet, Long Beach
- Jan. 11, Monday, 7:34 p.m.; -1.0 feet, Long Beach
- Jan. 12, Tuesday, 8:14 p.m.; -0.8 feet, Long Beach
- Jan. 13, Wednesday, 8:56 p.m.; -0.4 feet, Long Beach
- Jan. 14, Thursday, 9:40 p.m.; 0.2 feet, Long Beach
Ayres 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.
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.