Clam diggers will have an opportunity to dig for razor clams on Copalis Beach over the Christmas holiday if the next marine toxin test confirms the clams are safe to eat, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The dig is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 24, 25 and 26 at Copalis Beach on evening tides. No other state beach will be open to digging those three days. State shellfish managers emphasized the Copalis dig hinges on results from the next marine toxin test, which will take place late next week.
If approved, the opening at Copalis would be the first razor clam dig of the fall season.
Elevated levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of algae, forced WDFW to curtail digging. Razor clam digging will remain closed on Washington’s other coastal beaches until domoic acid levels drop below the threshold (20 parts per million) set by state public health officials, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
“Results from Copalis have met state health standards after two rounds of testing,” Ayres said. “If not for unfavorable surf conditions, we would be digging this weekend.”
State health safety officials require a toxin test within 10 days of an opening, making one more test necessary before the Dec. 24 dig, Ayres said.
Below is the tentative schedule of proposed razor clam digs for Copalis Beach, along with evening low tides if marine toxin tests are favorable:
Dec. 24, Thursday, 5:47 p.m.; -1.2 feet, Copalis
Dec. 25, Friday, 6:30 p.m.; -1.3 feet, Copalis
Dec. 26, Saturday, 7:12 p.m.; -1.1 feet, Copalis
Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. Diggers may not harvest any part of another person’s daily limit, unless they possess a designated harvester card.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2015-16 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.
Comprehensive information about razor clams – from updates on tentative digs to how-to advice on digging and cooking – is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.