WDFW closes recreational fisheries statewide in wake of governor’s order to ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ in response to COVID-19

NEWS RELEASE

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

March 25, 2020    

Contact: Kelly Cunningham, 360-902-2325

Public Affairs contact: Ben Anderson, 360-480-4465

WDFW closes recreational fisheries statewide in wake of governor’s order to ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ in response to COVID-19

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced its decision to temporarily close recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide in the wake of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s order directing Washingtonians to stay home and stay healthy to limit the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19.

The closures will begin at midnight Wednesday, March 25 and last until at least 5 p.m. on April 8, 2020. WDFW will re-evaluate on April 6 whether the closure may need to be extended.

“This is not a decision we take lightly, but it’s the right thing to do for the health and well-being of Washington’s families,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “Monday’s extraordinary order for the residents of our state to stay home requires all of us to work together to ensure these measures have the intended effect.”

Fishery managers have reported that some anglers have been seen crowding banks as concerns over coronavirus have continued.

“We’ve seen an uptick in outdoor recreation at some locations in recent weeks as people have looked for ways to get outside,” said WDFW Fish Program Director Kelly Cunningham. “We’ve had reports of crowded boat ramps and busy fishing on some rivers, which runs counter to the governor’s direction to stay home and practice social distancing.”

In addition, many salmon and steelhead fisheries require regular monitoring under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which includes conducting angler interviews at access sites surrounding the state’s marine waters. The on-site, face-to-face nature of angler interviews puts people at potential risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Without such monitoring, these recreational fisheries must close to ensure ESA protections.

WDFW and other state agencies previously closed all of their water access sites, including boat launches, and other public lands where people may gather. Local and tribal governments are taking similar actions across Washington.

WDFW Enforcement officers remain on duty and will be enforcing these new closures.

The lowland lakes opening day for trout remains scheduled for April 25, but will be evaluated depending on whether the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order might be further extended.

For the latest updates on WDFW’s coronavirus response, please visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates. Updates to openings and closures will be posted to that page. For the latest information on the statewide response to this pandemic, visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.

Alert: All Digs Canceled Until Further Notice

NEWS RELEASE

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

March 19, 2020

Contacts: Larry Phillips 360-870-1889; Jason Wettstein, 360-902-2254


WDFW halts four-day razor clam dig that was to begin Friday, March 20

Pacific County Health Officials issue new order today as a measure to contain COVID-19

OLYMPIA – WDFW has halted a previously scheduled razor clam dig that was to begin tomorrow, Friday, March 20, in response to an order today by the Pacific County Health Officer advising the closure of beaches to razor clam digging.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) had approved a dig after vetting it with county officials and health departments in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, and after consultation with state health officials.

The cancelled digs include the following:

  • March 20, Friday 5:27 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 21, Saturday, 6:07 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis 
  • March 22, Sunday, 6:41 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 23, Monday, 7:12 pm, 0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

“WDFW is responsive to the needs of local communities, and we manage razor clams in consultation with our coastal communities to ensure sustainable harvest,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW’s coastal region director. “But, under these circumstances, we need to include more than sustainable harvest in our decision making and do what is the best for the community. We understand that the county health department is responding to a global pandemic and WDFW is cancelling these digs to support that work and keep folks healthy.”

There was a lot of dialogue and a fairly long process to approve these digs in light of COVID-19 concerns, and it has been a rapidly evolving issue, he added.  “Typically, we would want to provide much more notice before cancelling a razor clam dig,” said Phillips.

Given the level of concern expressed in the communities, and the fact that some of the beaches open to razor clam digging fall within multiple counties, we also elected to close all currently open beaches to razor clam digging in order to provide consistency in approach, added Phillips.

WDFW has tentatively scheduled additional digs through April. Approval of these digs will be based on the results of marine toxin tests, assessment of available health information and further developments in consultation with local and state health authorities.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.

March Madness Final 4 Day Dig Approved

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) has approved a 4 day dig beginning Friday, March 20.

The official press release announcing the approved digs by WDFW is on the agency’s website.

Make sure you have a valid clamming license for the 2019-2020 season.

The approved dig was only made available to the public because of the hard work that state shellfish managers put in, plus the watchful eye of the Department of Health that conducts the marine toxin tests to ensure clams are safe to eat.

Check the Beach Map to ensure you are on the correct approved beach.

Upcoming digs are scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

  • March 20, Friday 5:27 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 21, Saturday, 6:07 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis 
  • March 22, Sunday, 6:41 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 23, Monday, 7:12 pm, 0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

No digging is allowed before noon.

Get your Razor Clam Society T-shirts here! Free shipping!!!!

The DAILY LIMIT per person is 15 clams, no matter what condition they are in, once removed from the sand. That limit is subject to change. Always check with official sources if you have any questions. Digging BEFORE Noon during the Fall/Winter season on the approved days is not allowed. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. And, each digger must keep their razor clams in a separate container. Don’t mix your clams. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available from license vendors around the state and WDFW’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.

6 Day Dig Approved

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) has just approved a 6 day dig beginning Friday March 6.

The official press release announcing the approved digs by WDFW is on the agency’s website.

Make sure you have a valid clamming license for the 2019-2020 season.

The approved dig was only made available to the public because of the hard work that state shellfish managers put in, plus the watchful eye of the Department of Health that conducts the marine toxin tests to ensure clams are safe to eat.

Check the Beach Map to ensure you are on the correct approved beach.

Upcoming digs are scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

  • March 6, Friday, 4:11 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 7, Saturday, 4:59 pm, -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • March 8, Sunday, 6:43 pm, -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 9, Monday, 7:25 pm, -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • March 10, Tuesday, 8:06 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 11, Wednesday, 8:46 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

No digging is allowed before noon.

Get your Razor Clam Society T-shirts here! Free shipping!!!!

The DAILY LIMIT per person is 15 clams, no matter what condition they are in, once removed from the sand. That limit is subject to change. Always check with official sources if you have any questions. Digging BEFORE Noon during the Fall/Winter season on the approved days is not allowed. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. And, each digger must keep their razor clams in a separate container. Don’t mix your clams. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available from license vendors around the state and WDFW’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.

4 Day Dig Approved!

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has just approved a 4 day dig beginning February 20.

The official press release announcing the approved digs by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is on the agency’s website.

Make sure you have a valid clamming license for the 2019-2020 season.

The approved dig was only made available to the public because of the hard work that state shellfish managers put in, plus the watchful eye of the Department of Health that conducts the marine toxin tests to ensure clams are safe to eat.

Check the Beach Map to ensure you are on the correct approved beach.

Upcoming digs are scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

  • February 20, Thursday, 4:54 pm 0.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • February 21, Friday, 5:35 pm -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • February 22, Saturday, 6:11 pm -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • February 23, Sunday, 6:44 pm -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

No digging is allowed before noon.

As previously announced, Washington Department of Health closed a small section of Mocrocks Beach due to a nearby sewage spill. According to today’s announcement from WDFW this area will remain closed until the end of February and will not be open during the approved razor clam digs starting Feb. 20. However, clamming is still open at Mocrocks Beach north and south of the 1,500 ft. shoreline closure. WDFW’s website has more information.

Get your Razor Clam Society T-shirts here! Free shipping!!!!

The DAILY LIMIT per person is 15 clams, no matter what condition they are in, once removed from the sand. That limit is subject to change. Always check with official sources if you have any questions. Digging BEFORE Noon during the fall season on the approved days is not allowed. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. And, each digger must keep their razor clams in a separate container. Don’t mix your clams. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available from license vendors around the state and WDFW’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.

ALERT: Sewage Spill Closes Razor Clam Beach

Alert: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Washington State Department of Health have just sent out the following notice.

“The Washington State Department of Health has closed approximately 1,500 feet of shoreline near Seabrook, just south of Pacific Beach, to the recreational and commercial harvest of razor clams. The closure is the result of a sewage spill.  We urge razor clam harvesters to avoid this stretch of beach, as shellfish can retain harmful bacteria and viruses found in sewage. The area will remain closed through February. (see map below)

We advise anyone who harvested in this area on Thursday, February 6th to throw away any remaining clams.”

Pacific Coast Closure Area 2_7_2020

7 Days of Digs Approved for February

7 days of razor clam digs have been approved!

A good solid week of razor clam digging has been approved. Get out there and enjoy the beauty and majesty of the Washington coast and support the local community and businesses while you are there!

Make sure you have a valid clamming license for the 2019-2020 season.

The official press release announcing the approved digs by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is on the agency’s website.

The approved dig was only made available to the public because of the hard work that state shellfish managers put in, plus the watchful eye of the Department of Health that conducts the marine toxin tests to ensure clams are safe to eat.

Check the Beach Map to ensure you are on the correct approved beach.

Upcoming digs are scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

  • February 6, Thursday, 4:40 pm -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • February 7, Friday, 5:26 pm -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • February 8, Saturday, 6:09 pm -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • February 9, Sunday, 6:51 pm -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • February 10, Monday, 7:32 pm -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • February 11, Tuesday, 8:13 pm -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • February 12, Wednesday, 8:55 pm -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

No digging is allowed before noon.

Get your Razor Clam Society T-shirts here! Free shipping!!!!

The DAILY LIMIT per person is 15 clams, no matter what condition they are in, once removed from the sand. That limit is subject to change. Always check with official sources if you have any questions. Digging BEFORE Noon during the fall season on the approved days is not allowed. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. And, each digger must keep their razor clams in a separate container. Don’t mix your clams. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available from license vendors around the state and WDFW’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.