The final dig of the 2013-14 razor clams season is scheduled to begin Tuesday, and will involve all beach areas except Kalaloch before it ends.
This last dig will run through June 1, the first time in at least 20 years digging has extended into June, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
This season turned out as good as Ayres predicted. During preseason discussions, Ayres said he expected the season to be as good as the 2012-13 season, which was the best in the last 15 years.
The dig will take place, with the low tide times:
Tuesday: 6:24 a.m., -1 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach.
Wednesday: 7:06 a.m., -1.3 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach.
Thursday: 7:45 a.m., -1.4 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Friday: 8:23 a.m., -1.2 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Saturday: 9 a.m., -1 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
June 1: 9:37 a.m., -0.7 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
As for Kalaloch, the clam populations there remain a concern.
“Tribal harvest reports at Kalaloch indicate no change in the low abundance,” Ayres said. “We will repeat the stock assessment in July and should know more then.”
This is the third season that beach area has been closed because of low clam populations.
Assessments done before this season showed Kalaloch had clam densities of just .76 clams per square meter. In comparison, Mocrocks had an average density of 5.47 clams per square meter.
Under state law, each digger can keep 15 razor clams per day, and people must keep the first 15 clams they dig up. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. Diggers may not harvest any part of another person’s daily limit, unless they possess a designated harvester card.
Razor clam diggers age 15 or older also must have an applicable 2014-15 fishing license. There are various licenses that can be purchased by diggers online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and at license vendors stateside.
Clam diggers and other beachgoers also are reminded to avoid disturbing western snowy plovers, said Brock Hoenes, a state wildlife biologist. The small white birds nest on coastal beaches from April-August. The plovers are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and as endangered by the state.
Hoenes also asks diggers avoid signed upland beach areas at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, which are closed to protect nesting western snowy plovers. At Long Beach, the closed area is located north of Oysterville Road from the state park boundary north to Leadbetter Point. At Twin Harbors, the closed area is located just south of Cranberry Beach Road and continues south for approximately 1.5 miles.