seagull with razor clam

Razor Clam Digs

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Contacts: Dan Ayres, 360-249-4628; Jason Wettstein (360) 704-0258

RECREATIONAL RAZOR CLAM UPDATE, April 20, 2021: For previous results, please see: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/basics/domoic-acid/levels
MARINE TOXIN UPDATE:
Listed below are the most recent marine toxin levels, as announced by the Washington Department of Health (WDOH).
Recall, before a beach can be opened for the harvest of razor clams, WDOH protocol requires that all razor clam samples collected from that beach must test under the action level (20 ppm for domoic acid; 80 μg/100g for PSP; and 16 μg/100g for DSP) on both of two required sample collections, that must be spaced 7 to 10 days apart. The results must also show a declining trend between samples.
Note that in all these samples; only razor clam meat tissue is tested.
Long Beach Area E (north): Collected 4/15/21
• domoic acid = 26 ppm
• PSP = none detected
• DSP = none detected
Twin Harbors Area CL (middle): Collected 4/15/21
• domoic acid = 11 ppm
• PSP = none detected
• DSP = none detected
Copalis Area XK (middle): Collected 4/13/21
• domoic acid = 26 ppm
• PSP = none detected
• DSP = none detected
Copalis Area XL (middle): Collected 4/13/21
• domoic acid = 30 ppm
• PSP = none detected
• DSP = none detected
Copalis Area GS (north): Collected 4/13/21
• domoic acid = 20 ppm
• PSP = none detected
• DSP = none detected
Mocrocks Area BC (south): Collected 4/18/21
• domoic acid = 1 ppm
• PSP = none detected
• DSP = none detected
Mocrocks Area CP (middle): Collected 4/18/21
• domoic acid = 27 ppm
• PSP = none detected
• DSP = none detected
Mocrocks Area MP (north): Collected 4/18/21
• domoic acid = 20 ppm
• PSP = none detected
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• DSP = none detected
We were hoping that today’s razor clam domoic acid results would allow us to open Mocrocks. However, as you can see below, no future razor clam dates will be announced until domoic acid levels in razor clams drop below the action level in two sets of consecutive tests, at least 7 days apart. We will be collecting samples every seven days (as low tides allow) with the hope that some beach may be able to open soon.
Re-opening this fishery after a long domoic acid closure has always been frustrating. continue to follow the historical pattern of slowly depurating (losing) domoic acid and for the last several months we have observed the levels “bounce around” considerably. As we have previous described, this is a result the individual 12 clams we randomly harvest when we are collecting samples. However, the report above shows some nice declines on all beaches. If you are interested, you can check out the historical domoic acid data at the link below.
These results and the historical record of domoic acid events can be found at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/basics/domoic-acid/levels (click on “show historical data”) and then hover your curser over the data points for more detail).
Along with sampling collecting razor clams regularly, WDFW together with our colleagues in the ORHAB (Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom) partnership continue on-going observations of the surf zone phytoplankton assemblages.

More information can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities. WDFW razor clam digs support outdoor lifestyles and coastal economies.

Razor Clam Conservation

In order to ensure conservation of clams for future generations, WDFW sets tentative razor clam seasons that are based on the results from an annual coast-wide razor clam stock assessment and by considering harvest to date. WDFW authorizes each dig independently after getting the results of marine toxin testing. 

Two razor clam digging weekends, in particular, should not be missed, said Ayres.  “The Ocean Shores Razor Clam and Seafood Festival on March 21 and 22, and the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival on April 11 are long-running events that celebrate the unique contribution of razor clams to Washington’s culture and coastal communities.” 

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach.

Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from some 600 license vendors around the state.

Ayres reminds razor clam diggers, that anyone gathering clams in April will need a new 2020 license to participate.  Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

“Abundant razor clam populations on beaches are allowing for more digging opportunity this year,” said Ayres. “But, it is important that razor clam diggers be sure to only dig where it is allowed.” Razor clam diggers can find detailed beach maps that indicate locations and local names for beaches on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/razor-clams#beachmaps.

WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities. WDFW razor clam digs support outdoor lifestyles and coastal economies.

Additional safety considerations are important this time of year. “Diggers want to be sure to come prepared with good lighting devices and always keep an eye on the surf, particularly at this time of year when low tides come at dusk and after dark,” said Ayres.   All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.