With autumn on the horizon, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has released a tentative schedule of proposed razor clam digs on coastal beaches. Those digs would begin in October and stretch through the end of the year.
Last year, razor clam digs were disrupted at Long Beach and Twin Harbors for much of the digging season by a concentration of domoic acid in ocean water that made shellfish unfit for human consumption. The WDFW is hoping for better conditions this year, but final approval of all digging dates is dependant upon marine toxin tests typically conducted about a week prior to the proposed digs.
“We’re releasing a tentative schedule to give people plenty of time to make plans to go digging this fall,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW, in a press release.
Proposed razor clam digs through December — along with evening low tides and beaches — are:
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- Oct. 6: 7:49 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Oct. 7: 8:33 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Nov. 2: 6:03 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis
- Nov. 3: 6:47 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Nov. 4: 7:31 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
- Nov. 5: 7:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Dec. 1: 4:42 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Copalis
- Dec. 2: 5:29 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Dec. 3: 6:15 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
- Dec. 4: 7:02 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Dec. 31: 5:12 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Beach surveys conducted by the WDFW indicate that Washington beaches are experiencing a dip in razor clam populations. That decrease will mean fewer digging days during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
Ayres believes the decreased populations are likely influenced by an extended period of low salinity in the surf zone along the coast. He said the impact was particularly severe at Long Beach and Twin Harbors.
“The total number of clams may be down this year, but we still expect good digging on most beaches,” Ayres said in the release.
Information on last season’s razor clam harvests, as well as an up-to-date razor clam stock assessment, can be found at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons–set.html.
State shellfish managers are soliciting input from the public regarding management options, including scheduling for spring digs. Comments can be submitted by email to email@example.com.