Pacific Razor Clam designation as official Washington State Clam up for consideration again

The Pacific razor clam is up for consideration as the official Washington State Clam once again.

Representatives Joel McEntire of the 19th Legislative District and Representative Mike Chapman of the 24th Legislative District were joined by Rep. Cindy Ryu to once again ask the legislature to designate the Pacific razor clam as the official state clam.

The consideration of the designation is not a new one, with local representatives first initiating the move in 2018 in a bill proposed by then-Representative Brian Blake

Since that initial bill, then-Senator Dean Takko and Representative Jim Walsh both introduced legislation regarding the title.

In 2020 the bill to create the designation passed through the House of Representatives on a vote of 94-4 before being shelved in the Senate.

In the prefiled bill, it states “The Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula, is endemic to the Pacific Northwest, abundant on Washington’s sandy coastal beaches, and an important part of the cultural identity of the state.”

The language of the bills as they continue to be introduced all feature similar language, citing that in recent years, as many as eight million clams are harvested annually.

“The oblong shell of the Pacific razor clam is golden-hued, symmetrical, and especially handsome. The flesh is meaty and makes for premier table fare and a healthy, organic, wild food source.”

The bill also states that razor clamming is not only a tradition for many families, but it brings thousands of people to the coastal area each year and provides “healthy exercise and outdoor experiences” as well as boosts the local economy.

If approved, the Razor clam would join the state oyster Ostrea lurida (proposed by 19th District Senator Brian Hatfield), the Lady Washington as the state ship, the orca as the state marine mammal, and other official representatives for the state.