December 23, 2022
Contact: Dan Ayres, 360-249-4628 ext. 209
Media contact: Mark Yuasa, 360-902-2262
Razor clam digs on all coastal beaches remain closed due to persistent marine toxin levels
OLYMPIA – The recreational razor clam season on all coastal beaches remains closed until further notice, shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Razor clam test results released on Dec. 22 indicate domoic acid levels on all beaches, remain above the health guidelines for safe consumption set by Washington Department of Health (WDOH) officials.
“While many had to change their holiday razor clamming plans, we are looking forward to some many excellent digging opportunities in the months ahead,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “With that in mind, we’ll continue to work closely with our partners at WDOH to closely monitor razor clam toxin levels and reopen harvest as soon as clams are safe to eat.”
Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. WDFW learned from similar algae bloom events in the past that razor clams can be very slow to have domoic acid leave their meat tissue. More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW’s domoic acid webpage.
WDFW shellfish staff will continue to regularly dig test samples of razor clams to monitor the situation. WDOH requires two test samples taken at least 10 days apart (depending on tides and weather) must fall under the health guideline level before a beach can reopen for digging. WDFW plans to announce future opportunities once marine toxin tests show it is safe to do so.
WDFW has information on public areas designated for shellfish harvesting. One of those areas is the Nahcotta Tidelands known for harvesting oysters. Here are links for more information on what is open and what licenses is needed.
Clamming is a great family activity but caution is always advised when you are on the beach. Watch out for sneaker waves, stay away from logs in or at the water’s edge, keep your eye on the tide and drench all beach fires dead out before leaving. The dunes are off-limits to foot and vehicle traffic. All beach approaches have public restrooms and please pack your trash out with you. Approximately 6 miles of beach on the north end of the peninsula may be closed to traffic at various times during the year – please follow all posted directions regarding these closures.
A Shellfish/Seaweed License is required for harvesting razor clams and must be in the harvester’s immediate possession and available for inspection during harvest and transport. Everyone claiming a limit must actively participate in the harvesting process, unless they possess a disability permit.
Call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State.
The first fifteen razor clams regardless of size or condition must be retained. One daily limit of fresh shellfish may be in possession. Razor clams may not be returned to the beach. For razor clams, holes do not have to be refilled as is required for hardshell clam digging.
Razor clams may be taken by hand, hand-operated shovel, or tube (clam gun) with a minimum outside diameter of 4″ or (4″ x 3″ if elliptical). Each digger must use a separate container, but may share digging equipment.
For more detailed information visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing
It is illegal to drive any vehicle, or lead or ride a horse on the clam beds. You must stay on the upper “hard-sand area”. Pressure from the weight of the vehicles or digging action of horses’ hooves cause clam mortality.
There are 7 beach approaches for vehicles along the peninsula. Starting from the north end, they are:
- Oysterville Road
- Bay Avenue
- Klipsan Beach (south of 227th)
- Cranberry Road
- Bolstad Road
- Sid Snyder Road
- Seaview (at 38th Street)
Local Places to Buy a Shellfishing License
JACKS COUNTRY STORE
26006 Highway 103
Ocean Park, WA 98640
DENNIS COMPANY #1
2nd and Pacific ST
Long Beach, WA 98631
SEAVIEW MOBIL STATION
3909 Pacific Highway, Seaview, WA
2006 N Pacific Hwy 103
Long Beach, WA 98631
CHINOOK COUNTRY STORE
775 HWY 101
Chinook, WA 98614
ILWACO FOOD MARKET
108 SPRUCE ST. W
Ilwaco, WA 98624
For a complete list places selling clamming licenses in Pacific County
Licenses may be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/login
Children under the age of 15 do not need a razor clam license.