Final approval of Twin Harbors razor clam digs delayed until Tuesday

  • Sat Oct 22nd, 2016 2:01pm
  • News

By Mark Yuasa

The Seattle Times

Razor clam diggers planning on making a trip to Twin Harbors will have to wait until another round of marine toxin testing is conducted.

Digging is scheduled to begin Friday (Oct. 28) through Nov. 1, but a rise in levels of domoic acid could cancel digging altogether.

Testing is done for domoic acid — a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae — that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

The most recent testing done earlier this week showed toxin levels at Twin Harbors didn’t exceed the action level set by state health standards. But, the state Department of Health has asked for an additional test closer to the opening to be sure clams at Twin Harbors are safe.

State Fish and Wildlife plans to dig more samples of clams and results should come to light on Tuesday (Oct. 25).

Long Beach on the southern coast will remain closed due to elevated levels of marine toxins.

“We cannot open Long Beach this time around. Marine toxin levels had increased above the action level, and we need at least two clean results before we can think about opening a beach,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “This time the toxins showed up in different location, and up until the most recent testing it was mainly on the northern end, and now we found it in the central part of Long Beach.”

“Digging on the season opener last Friday and Saturday (Oct. 14-15) was a bust due to the stormy weather with the surf at one point rising to 26 feet,” Ayres said. “By Sunday, coast-wide (Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks) we had a thousand people out and they averaged 11 clams per person.” (The first 15 dug is a daily limit.)

Twin Harbors was the only beach open on Monday with an estimated thousand diggers hitting the beach, then dipping Tuesday to around 700, but it was limits across the board.

“People at Twin Harbors were happy with the size of clams, and as predicted there are a lot clams and very good digging,” Ayres said.

Pending additional marine toxin testing more digging will occur Nov. 12-19 at Twin Harbors, and Nov. 17-19 at Copalis and Mocrocks. For more information, go to http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com; on Twitter: @markkyuasa. Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.