Friday, May 13, 2011/lk
Shellfish lovers will get one more chance to dig razor clams during a late-season dig set to begin Wednesday, May 18, at Twin Harbors Beach, followed by openings at Mocrocks and Long Beach.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved morning digs at all three beaches after marine toxin tests showed that the clams are safe to eat.
The last dig of the season will begin at Twin Harbors Beach, where morning clam digging will be open May 18-22. Mocrocks Beach will be open for digging May 20-22, and Long Beach will be open May 21-22.
No digging will be allowed at any beach after noon.
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.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the coming dig is possible because turnout was lower than expected during the six-day opening earlier this month.
"Most diggers got their limits during the last opening, but we also had some competition from shrimp and other fisheries opening in the region," Ayres said. "Whatever the case, we have enough clams available for another dig at three beaches."
Washington's two other razor-clam beaches - Copalis and Kalaloch - are closed for the season. Ayres cautions diggers to observe the boundary between Mocrocks Beach and Copalis Beach, which are adjacent to one another north of Grays Harbor.
Mocrocks Beach, which is open for digging May 20-22, lies north of Copalis River and includes Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips. Copalis Beach, now closed for the season, lies south of the Copalis River and includes Ocean Shores, Oyhut and Ocean City.
Ayres also reminds diggers to avoid signed upland beach areas at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, which are closed to protect nesting western snowy plovers. At Long Beach, the closed areas are located north of 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.
To participate in the upcoming dig, everyone age 15 or older must carry a valid 2011-12 license. Various licenses - ranging from a three-day razor-clam license to a multi-species combination license - are available online at (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), or by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state.