OLYMPIA - Clam diggers have a green light to proceed with a razor-clam dig late next week at three coastal beaches.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig after marine toxin tests confirmed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
Razor-clam digging will be allowed after noon Jan. 20-22 at Twin Harbors and Long Beach. In addition, the National Park Service has approved a dig Jan. 21-22 at Kalaloch, located inside the Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at the other two beaches.
Digging at all three beaches will be restricted to the hours between noon and midnight.
Two other beaches - Copalis and Mocrocks - will remain closed to razor-clam digging this month, but are tentatively scheduled to open in February along with the other beaches pending the results of additional marine toxin tests.
"The upcoming opening is confined to the beaches where we have the most clams available for harvest," said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. "We want to make sure clams are available on all beaches for spring digs."
Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin noted that diggers should take safety precautions during night digs, especially at Kalaloch.
"Kalaloch is considerably more remote than the other clamming beaches, and visitors should be prepared for primitive conditions," she said. "With no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area, flashlights or lanterns are a necessity."
Under WDFW rules, harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's limit must be kept in a separate container. All diggers must have an applicable 2010-11 fishing license to dig razor clams on any beach. A license is required for anyone age 15 or older.
Anglers can buy a combination license or an annual shellfish/seaweed license. Also available are razor-clam only licenses in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW website at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov. A list of state license vendors is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors.
Beaches opening to razor-clam digging this month include:
- Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
- Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
- Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park.