Long Beach Toxin Levels to Delay Digs

Just when we thought it was going to be an issue free razor clamming season, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) sends out a press release indicating that rising marine toxin levels have prompted them to delay the upcoming razor clam digs at Long Beach and to review openings at other ocean beaches.

WDFW also said that they will continues to monitor toxin levels to determine whether razor clam digging can proceed at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches.

WDFW previously announced a tentative schedule of digs for Oct. 14 through Dec. 31 at the four ocean beaches.

Dan Ayres, WDFW Coastal Shellfish Manager, said that digging at Long Beach will be on hold until tests indicate toxin levels have dropped and the clams are safe to eat.

Test results on razor clams dug recently at Long Beach indicate levels of domoic acid exceed the threshold (20 parts per million) set by state public health officials. Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

State of the Clam Address

Press Release

RE: State of the Clam Address

Olympia- The 2015-2016 razor clamming season in Washington State saw some early challenges, but gathered momentum in what became a fantastic season rivaling the last. The season was dramatically shortened due to a very late season opening around Christmas caused by high levels of toxicity in the clams. Grayland / Twin Harbors remained closed all season, carrying over from an early closure of the previous season due to persistent and high levels of toxicity in the clams on that beach.

However, the 2016-2017 season looks like it will be bountiful. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) has just announced a mid-October season opening. That’s great news for us razor clammers eager to get out on the beaches. And, according to WDFW, the clam population numbers look stronger than ever.

Recreational razor clamming remains one of the most popular licensed outdoor recreational activities in Washington State. According to WDFW, over 59,000 razor clamming specific licenses were sold in the State this season. That number trended lower due to the late opening. The previous season, which was also cut short, saw the sale of over 75,000 licenses. The season before that, 80,000 licenses were sold.

The number of trips made for license holders to dig razor clams characterizes just how dedicated people are to this sport.  During the course of the past seasons, 327,544 trips were made by razor clammers to the beaches to dig. During the 2014-2015 season 451,046 trips, and for the 2013-2014 season, 418,675 trips were made.

Recreational razor clamming enjoys a long season and broad and enthusiastic participation. A normal razor clamming season extends from late September or early October through mid to late May. The demographics of razor clammers are wide-ranging; from the very young to the very old, people from all walks of life, diverse backgrounds and geographies. Entire multi-generational families dig razor clams together.  It is an all-inclusive outdoor activity.

Razor clamming is an easy activity to become involved in. All a recreational clammer needs is a valid harvest license (if 15 years of age or older) and an individual container, usually a small net, to hold the clams in. Clammers are limited to the first 15 clams they dig. While digging clams by hand is possible, it is easier to use a small shovel or clam gun.

During the course of our first full year of operations, the Razor Clam Society has participated in seven well-attended festival and fairs. We raised some funds through a crowdfunding campaign, and received numerous small donations from the public we interacted with. We also began an effort to collect the requisite 3,500 names necessary to seek the issuance of a Razor Clam license plate through the Washington State Department of Licensing.  We recently attended, and assisted in, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife annual razor clam stock assessment. Video of those activities were posted on our website and social media. Over the course of 3 days the videos had been viewed more than 4,000 times. People are excited about and interested in razor clamming.  And finally, the Razor Clam Society became a partner in the Washington State Governor’s Shellfish Initiative.


About the Razor Clam Society:

The Razor Clam Society is a Washington State non-profit charitable organization established in October 2015 and registered with the State’s combined fund drive. We are also registered as an official 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization with the IRS.

The Razor Clam Society is dedicated to promoting recreational razor clamming. Our aim is to build a highly engaged community of razor clammers to ensure the viability of razor clamming for the enjoyment of future generations. Our efforts focus on four things: 1) conservation; 2) representing the clamming community to local and state government; 3) connecting local economies to the broader clamming community; and 4) highlighting how much fun responsible clamming practices can be.

2016-2017 Razor Clam Season Dig Dates Announced

According to a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) press release found here, the first razor clam digs of the 2016-2017 fall season are tentatively planned for mid-October on four ocean beaches with additional digs tentatively scheduled through December.

As is always the case, final approval of all scheduled openings will depend on results of marine toxin tests conducted by Washington State Department of Health that show the clams are safe to eat.

WDFW shellfish managers also seek comments on the spring digs. Comments can be sent via email to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov. Also available is a summary of last season and an overview of the recently completed 2016-17 razor clam stock assessment.

WDFW estimates the total razor clam population on Washington’s ocean beaches has increased slightly over last year.

WDFW assessments indicate that Long Beach has the largest population of razor clams the department has measured in the last 25 years. And the Twin Harbors population is strong. It is also reported that Mocrocks and Copalis show population declines, suggesting fewer digging days on those beaches this year.

Video of razor clam stock assessments can be found here.

The first proposed razor clam dig, along with evening low tides and beaches, is listed below:

  • Oct. 14, Friday, 5:55 p.m.;   0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 15, Saturday, 6:42 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 16, Sunday, 7:28 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 17, Monday, 8:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Oct. 18, Tuesday, 9:04 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Oct. 19, Wednesday, 9:55 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Oct. 20, Thursday, 10:50 p.m.; -0.7 feet;   Long Beach
  • Oct. 21, Friday, 11:50 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Long Beach

Proposed razor clam digs through December 31, 2016 can be found here.


Last Digs of the Season!

Attention Razor Clammers: according to a press release from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, the last digs and tides of the 2015-2016 season are as follows:

  • May 20, Friday, 6:37 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Mocrocks, Copalis
  • May 21, Saturday, 7:12 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Mocrocks, Copalis
  • May 22, Sunday, 7:47 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Mocrocks

Our friends at Department of Health came back with marine toxin tests that showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed at either beach after noon.

Don’t forget your license! See you on the beach!


May Dig’s Approved by WDFW, Other Digs Proposed

According to a press release (found here) Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish managers have added four days of razor clam digging at Mocrocks to a previously scheduled opening at Long Beach to offer a full week of digging starting May 6.

As always, the digs were approved after marine toxin tests required by the Department of Health showed the clams on the proposed beaches were safe to eat.

WDFW conducted evaluations that showed the harvest levels indicating there were still clams to dig on the open beaches.

The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches, and low tides:

  • May 6, Friday, 6:51 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach
  • May 7, Saturday, 7:39 a.m.; -2.0 feet; Long Beach
  • May 8, Sunday, 8:26 a.m.; -2.1 feet; Long Beach
  • May 9, Monday, 9:14 a.m.; -1.9 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 10, Tuesday, 10:03 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 11, Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 12, Thursday, 11:49 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Mocrocks

Remember, digging is not allowed on any beach after noon with the exception of Mocrocks on May 12, when digging will be allowed for an extra hour, until 1 p.m., due to the later low tide.

Late May Digs Proposed

WDFW is also proposing three days of digging at Mocrocks and two days at Copalis later in the month. These will be the last digs on those two beaches for the season. The department will announce whether the digs can proceed, pending the results of marine toxin tests, about a week before the digs are scheduled to start.

Below is a list of proposed digs, along with low tides and beaches:

  • May 20, Friday, 6:37 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Mocrocks, Copalis
  • May 21, Saturday, 7:12 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Mocrocks, Copalis
  • May 22, Sunday, 7:47 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Mocrocks

Happy Earth Day Razor Clammers!

Today is Earth Day. Celebrate by digging some razor clams throughout the weekend. Also, sign up for Coast Saver activities here to do your part in keeping important coastal habitat clean.

Weekend dig dates are below. Remember to follow all the guidelines for legal and ethical razor clamming.

  • April 22, Friday, 7:35 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Long Beach
  • April 23, Saturday, 8:08 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks
  • April 24, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach