Evening razor clam digs get green light to start Friday

Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks open for digging Friday, Saturday

The latest marine toxin tests are in and the first razor clam dig of the season is a go with minus tides at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches starting Friday.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has approved evening digs on all four beachs Friday and Saturday after marine toxin tests showed that clams on those beaches are safe to eat, according to coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres. No digging will be allowed on any beach before noon.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:

Oct. 6, Friday, 7:49 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Oct. 7, Saturday, 8:33 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Ayres recommends that diggers hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

“A map on the Washington Department of Health’s website indicates that beaches are closed to razor clam digging up until they are cleared to open by the test results,” Ayres said. “We’re pleased that we are able to move ahead with this opening as scheduled.”

A recent statement in a story about Pierce County’s shellfish ban might have caused some confusion among razor clam diggers. While it’s true that the Washington coast has been closed to clam digging, that closure could be superseded by favorable results from a marine toxin test, said Ayres. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife posts test results online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

The state has tentatively scheduled another dig for Nov. 2-5, pending results of future toxin tests. More information on planned digs can be found online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 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 online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches 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.

Ayres noted that throughout the 2017-18 razor clam season, a research team from the University of Maryland will be out on the beaches seeking volunteers to participate in a survey about razor clam consumption and harvesting practices.