Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres provided a wrap-up of the recent razor clam digging season, calling it “memorable”.
According to Ayres, nearly half-a-million digger trips taken during 120 calendar days of digging in the 2021–2022 season.
The season wrapped up on May 7, and Ayres said that the future shows one of the strongest populations seen in the past 25 years.
“We are pleased we could offer more digging days and a higher daily limit that allowed diggers to take home more razor clams than any season in the last 40-plus years,” said Kelly Susewind, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) director.
WDFW offered a total of 120 calendar digging days from Sept. 17 through May 7 on all open beaches — Long Beach (119 days), Twin Harbors (108 days), Mocrocks (60 days), and Copalis (53 days).
“Thanks to healthy ocean conditions providing very abundant populations of razor clams, the 2021–22 season was one for the record books with nearly 8.4 million clams harvested taken in 484,324 diggers trips,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
Here’s a breakdown of razor clams harvested by beach:
- Long Beach: 3,187,179 razor clams harvested on 189,384 digger trips.
- Twin Harbors: 2,092,415 razor clams harvested on 123,652 digger trips.
- Copalis: 1,612,069 razor clams harvested on 96,380 digger trips.
- Mocrocks: 1,233,103 razor clams harvested on 74,908 digger trips.
“These abundant populations also allowed us to raise the daily bag limit during a large portion of the season, the first time that has occurred since 1974,” Ayres said. Much of the season saw a 20-clam daily limit per person, up from the usual 15-clam daily limit.
The daily average for the entire season was 16.8 clams per person at Long Beach; 16.9 at Twin Harbors; 16.7 at Copalis; and 16.5 at Mocrocks.
Razor clams have been large, as well, with a combined average of 4.59 inches, thanks in part to a healthy ocean full of “phytoplankton” feed. Clams averaged 4.35 inches at Long Beach; 4.74 inches at Twin Harbors; 4.80 inches at Copalis; and 4.55 inches at Mocrocks.
“WDFW staff will now begin the work to reassess coast-wide razor clam populations and plan for the 2022–23 season,” Ayres said. “Early indications are that another great season is ahead, likely starting sometime in late September or early October.”
WDFW will also have a comment period around the end of August to accept public feedback for the 2022–2023 razor clam season.
To learn more about razor clam abundance, population densities at various beaches, and how seasons are set, visit the WDFW razor clam webpage.