Fans of razor clams will have plenty of opportunities to dig if tests show clams are safe to eat. A weeklong dig is scheduled to begin Saturday at four beaches.
Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, reminds diggers that digging is not allowed at any beach before noon. He added that the best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide.
Here is the schedule with the low tide times and which beaches are open:
Saturday: 4:28 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Sunday: 5:13 p.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
Monday: 5:59 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
Tuesday: 6:44 p.m.; -1.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
Wednesday: 7:30 p.m.; -1.7 feet; Long Beach and Twin Harbors.
Thursday: 8:17 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors.
Friday: 9:05 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors.
Dec. 7: 9:56 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors.
Additional digs have been scheduled for various beaches Dec. 14-18 and all four beaches will be open for a holiday dig Dec. 29-31. Those digs will proceed if tests show clams are safe to eat.
Kalaloch beach has not opened this season because managers with the state and Olympic National Park are concerned about low population numbers.
Under state law, diggers can only keep 15 razor clams per day and they are required to keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of the condition. Also, each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. License options, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on the department’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw. wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.
In response to questions from diggers, the state said that in tests done to date, no fish or shellfish off the Pacific coast have radioactive contamination that would pose a risk to people who eat them.
Dan Ayres, the coastal shellfish manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said he has heard from people that razor clams might be contaminated with radioactive material from the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan.
In a message sent to people on a razor clam email list, Ayres said the state Department of Health has tested a limited amount of fish and shellfish to look for radioactivity from nuclear power plant that was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The Health Department has test albacore tuna caught in the waters off the Pacific coast, one from before the Fukushima disaster and one caught after. In addition, the department has tested one salmon, one steelhead, as well as razor clams and other shellfish after the Fukushima disaster.
That agency will continue to test fish and shellfish, focusing on the species most likely to travel across the ocean.
The state also has field-tested hundreds of debris items found on the state’s beaches and found no radioactive contamination. The consensus among scientists is that it’s highly unlikely that any tsunami debris from Japan is radioactive, the email said.
“The tsunami created debris from a large stretch of Japan’s coast, but the leak from the damaged Fukushima reactor occurred in one place. The leak of contaminated water from the reactor started days to weeks after the tsunami debris had washed out to sea. By the time the radioactive water leak developed, the debris was already in the ocean, miles away from the reactor,” according to the email.