Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) shellfish managers announced Friday 62 tentative dates for razor clam digs beginning in mid-September and running through the end of the year.
Final approval of tentatively-scheduled openings depends on results of marine toxin tests. Much of the 2020-21 razor clam season was canceled due to high domoic acid levels, but this year’s season so far is looking good, both in terms of clam abundance and domoic acid, according WDFW’s coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres.
“Similar to last year’s preseason indications, we’re estimating very strong razor clam populations at most coastal beaches,” Ayres said. “We’re optimistic that diggers will have plenty of great opportunities to dig for these clams this fall and winter.”
All open beaches (Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis) will also have increased limits through the end of 2021, with diggers allowed to keep 20 clams instead of the usual 15. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container and all diggers must keep the first 20 clams they dig.
“We’re confident that these beaches can support the increased harvest, at least through the end of the year,” Ayres said. “We’ll re-evaluate before announcing the 2022 digging dates to see if we need to adjust the limit.”
The Kalaloch beach will not open due to continuing issues with depressed populations of harvestable clams.
With COVID-19 still impacting communities throughout Washington, officials are asking diggers to continue practicing social distancing, following local and state guidance on masks and face coverings, and being respectful of local communities and residents.
“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who helped this season come together, including local leaders, county health officers and Washington State Parks,” said Larry Phillips, director of WDFW’s Coastal Region. “We’ll be working hard to help ensure a safe, productive digging season, and the public can do their part by following health and safety guidelines.”
The tentative season-opening set of digs runs from Sept. 17 to Sept. 22. For the full list of scheduled digs and more information, visit WDFW's razor clam website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/razor-clams.