UPDATED AT 12:20 P.M.
The outlook for the 2010-11 season shows the number of clams is down from last year, but that decline was expected based on the number of young clams encountered last year. That is assessment in a report from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Here is the outlook for each beach:
Long Beach: The total allowable catch will be 1.28 million clams, down from 1.68 million and a harvest of 1.42 million clams last season. The overall number of clams is 4.25 million, slightly below the five-year average of 4.72 million.
Twin Harbors: Total allowable catch will be 845,000, down from 1.18 million last year, when the harvest was 840,000. The overall population is 2.82 million, down from the five-year average of 3.28 million.
Copalis: The state’s share of the total allowable catch is 683,00 million, down from 1.02 million last year. The harvest last season was 1 million clams. The total population this season is 4.55 million, down from the five-year average of 5.08 million.
Mocrocks: The state’s share of the total allowable catch is 545,000, down from 629,000 last season, when the harvest was 496,000 clams. The total population is 3.64 million, compared to the five-year average of 3.82 million.
Kalaloch: The state’s total allowable catch is 259,000, down from 448,000 last year, when the harvest was 46,400. The population is at 2.04 million, up from the five-year average of 1.58 million. That average includes 2007-08 when the total population was less than 272,000.
2009-10 season highlights:
- Last year, Clam diggers harvested more than 3.7 million razor clams on the five ocean beaches open for digging on the Washington coast. They averaged 13.4 clams per digger trip. The harvest was the best since the 2004-05 season.
- There were digs offered on each beach every month from October to May.
- Digging was impacted by major storms and a tsunami threat. In November, one dig was slowed by swells exceeding 30 feet and winds topping 70 mph.
- The March 27 dig coincided with the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival, attended by more than 7,000 people. Coastwide, that was the busiest day, with 20,700 people digging clams.
Rather than holding public meetings to discuss the upcoming season, the agency is taking public comments on the upcoming razor clam season. The state wants your thoughts on digging days, catch limits and other management options.
The department is seeking comments by mail and e-mail as a lower-cost alternative to conducting a series of public meetings, said Ron Warren, regional fish manager. In the past, the department has held a series of meetings from Tacoma to the coast to discuss the season’s outlook and review potential digging dates for early in the season.
“We welcome public feedback in developing razor-clam seasons, but state budget reductions have made it necessary to change our approach,” Warren said in a news release. “We’re hoping this course proves both more economical and more effective in reaching the public.”
Suggestions for the 2010-11 season, tentatively set to begin in early October, can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: Razor Clams, 48 Devonshire Rd., Montesano, WA 98563. Comments regarding initial digging opportunities must be received by Friday, although WDFW will consider other suggestions throughout the season.