Clam digging could return in October, but numbers are down

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced a tentative schedule to start the fall razor clam season in early October.

“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 .

Final approval of all openings will depend on marine toxin test results, usually conducted about a week before a dig is scheduled.

Based on beach surveys conducted over the summer, WDFW estimates the total razor clam population on Washington’s beaches has decreased significantly from last season, which means fewer days of digging this season.

Ayres said the decline in clam populations was likely caused, at least in part, by “an extended period of low salinity in surf zone ocean waters”, particularly those near Long Beach and .

“The total number of clams may be down this year, but we still expect good digging on most beaches,” Ayres said.

Proposed razor clam digs through December are listed below, along with evening low tides and beaches:

  • Oct. 6, Friday, 7:49 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis,
  • Oct. 7, Saturday, 8:33 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 2, Thursday, 6:03 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis
  • Nov. 3, Friday, 6:47 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 4, Saturday, 7:31 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Nov. 5, Sunday, 7:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 1, Friday, 4:42 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Copalis
  • Dec. 2, Saturday, 6:49 p.m.; -1.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 3, Sunday, 6:15 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Dec. 4, Monday, 7:02 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 31, Sunday, 5:12 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

For more information about recreational razor clamming, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

State shellfish managers are seeking public input on management options, including scheduling for spring digs. Comments on the spring digs can be sent via email to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov.

A summary of last season and an overview of the recently completed razor clam stock assessment are available in WDFW’s 2017-18 Razor Clam Management Plan at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.

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