Razor clam digs return after toxic beach closure

Apr 4, 2023, 4:23 PM

razor clam...

Recreational razor clam pickers seen at low tide. (Photo by Artur Widak via Getty Images)

(Photo by Artur Widak via Getty Images)

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) shellfish managers today confirmed the next round of coastal razor clam digging kicks off from April 6-12 with an increased daily limit of 20 clams per person, five more than the previous season’s amount.

This announcement works in tandem with this weekend’s Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, where participants can get free lessons on collecting and cleaning clams alongside engaging in a giant fritter cook-off and crab races.

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“Now that we have the toxicity closure behind us and are turning the corner into spring morning digs, we’re looking forward to better digging conditions and larger sacks of clams due to an increased bag limit,” said Bryce Blumenthal, a WDFW coastal shellfish biologist, in a prepared statement.

The last razor clam clamming period was shut down last November when coastal beaches had to be closed due to a rise in domoic acid levels on all beaches, which exceeds the health guidelines for safe consumption set by Washington Department of Health (WDOH) officials. Domoic acid is a natural toxin produced by certain marine algae, but it can be harmful or even fatal if consumed.

Shellfish staff will continue to regularly dig test samples of razor clams to monitor the situation, according to WDFW.

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Despite the all-clear, not all beaches are open for every dig, so diggers are encouraged to make sure their intended destination is open before heading out. WDFW will announce digging opportunities via the WDFW razor clam webpage.

WDFW claims the most successful digging occurs within two hours before the listed time of low tide.

To participate, razor clam diggers must purchase their new 2023-2024 recreational fishing or shellfishing licenses, available from hundreds of license vendors around the state. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach.

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Razor clam digs return after toxic beach closure