The next razor clam dig will take place on four ocean beaches, beginning Tuesday.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced late Wednesday it had approved the dig, after marine toxin tests showed clams on all four beaches are safe to eat.
Two beaches – Long Beach and Twin Harbors – will open for digging Tuesday through April 22 until noon each day, plus April 23 until 1 p.m. Copalis and Mocrocks will be open for digging April 21-22 until noon and April 23 until 1 p.m. under that plan.
Fishery managers agreed to an extra hour of digging Saturday, April 23, because low tide won’t occur until 11:27 a.m. that day, said Dan Ayres, state coastal shellfish manager.
Ayres noted that Washington Coast cleanup will coincide with the April 23 dig, so diggers may encounter people carrying plastic bags as well as clam shovels. Last year, volunteers for Washington CoastSavers removed 24 tons of trash along the Washington coastline and will have sign-up stations at a number of beaches.
“Diggers who get their limits early might want to pitch in,” Ayres said, in a news release.
The low tide times for the upcoming dig are:
- Tuesday: 8:07 a.m. (-1.8 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- Wednesday: 8:54 a.m. (-1.7 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- April 21: 9:42 a.m. (-1.4 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks
- April 22: 10:33 a.m. (-0.8 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks
- April 23: 11:27 a.m. (-0.2 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. Digging allowed until 1 p.m.
Kalaloch is closed to razor-clam digging until further notice as biologists assess the clam population there.
At Long Beach and Twin Harbors, the upland portions of the beach are also closed to protect nesting western snowy plovers, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, said the news release.
“The birds are particularly vulnerable this time of year,” Ayres said in the release. “Signs clearly mark the area and instruct people to stay on the hard-packed sand.”
The closed upland portion at each beach includes the area above the mean high tide line. At Long Beach, the closed areas are located north of the Oysterville Road from the state park boundary north to Leadbetter Point. At Twin Harbors, the closed areas are located from just south of Midway Beach Road to the first beach-access trail at Grayland Beach State Park.
Under state rules, harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s limit must be kept in a separate container.
Ayres also reminds diggers age 15 or older that they must purchase a 2011-12 license to participate in the April openings, since all 2010-11 state fishing licenses expired March 31.
“We plan to announce additional digging opportunities in May, so diggers may want to take that into account,” he said in the release.