Razor clam digging closed for the season on 3 beaches; Dig at Mocrocks depends on toxin tests

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WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

May 4, 2017
Contact
: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-4628

Razor clam digging closed for the season on 3 beaches;
Dig at Mocrocks depends on toxin tests

OLYMPIA – Three of Washington’s ocean beaches will remain closed to razor clam digging for the rest of the season while a potential dig at Mocrocks depends on additional toxin tests.

Test results on razor clams dug at both Long Beach and Twin Harbors beaches indicate levels of domoic acid exceed the threshold (20 parts per million) set by state public health officials, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). 

“Based on the most recent toxin tests, razor clams will not be safe to eat for the remainder of the month at Long Beach or Twin Harbors,” Ayres said. 

Toxin levels at Copalis beach are below the health threshold. However, the beach will remain closed because diggers reached the number of harvestable razor clams for the season there, Ayres said.

State shellfish managers will consider scheduling an opening at Mocrocks later in May, depending on the results of two toxin tests, Ayres said. The first test results indicate levels at Mocrocks are just below the threshold. A second test is scheduled for next week.

“It’s possible toxin levels at Mocrocks will remain low enough to allow another dig there,” Ayres said. “But we need to see what the next results show before scheduling an opening.” 

The department likely will make an announcement next week on whether there will be another dig at Mocrocks this season.

WDFW routinely closes the razor clam fishery by the end of May when the clams begin to spawn. The next season will begin in fall, when the older clams have recovered from spawning and a new generation begins to grow beneath the sand.

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. The toxin has posed problems for razor clam and crab fisheries along Washington’s coast for the last two years.

More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at all ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_acid.html.

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2016 Coastal Razor Clam Updates

From:  Dan L. Ayres   |   Coastal Shellfish Manager  

SEASON UPDATE:  Washington recreational razor clam harvest will open in January 2016. Below are the opening dates, the time of the evening low tides and the beaches that are included:

.             January 7, Thursday, 4:57 p.m.; 0.1 feet, Long Beach

.             January 8, Friday, 5:37 p.m.; -0.4 feet, Long Beach, Copalis

.             January 9, Saturday, 6:16 p.m.; -0.8 feet, Long Beach, Copalis

.             January 10, Sunday, 6:55 p.m.; -1.0 feet, Long Beach

.             January 11, Monday, 7:34 p.m.; -1.0 feet, Long Beach

.             January 12, Tuesday, 8:14 p.m.; -0.8 feet, Long Beach

.             January 13, Wednesday, 8:56 p.m.; -0.4 feet, Long Beach

.             January 14, Thursday, 9:40 p.m.; 0.2 feet, Long Beach

 

Please note that the Copalis razor clam beach includes, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and the Copalis areas. The Long Beach razor clam beach includes Seaview, Cranberry, Klipsan , Ocean Park and Oysterville.

 A description of each beach and a map can be found at:http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/

BEACHES THAT REMAIN CLOSED INCLUDE:

Mocrocks Beach (just north of Copalis); which includes Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips).

Twin Harbors Beach; which includes Westport, Grayland and North Cove

For details go to the following web link: http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html

 MARINE TOXIN UPDATE:

 Listed below are the most recent marine toxin levels, as announced by the Washington Department of Health (WDOH) on January 4, 2016.

This is the second of two rounds of Long Beach and Copalis razor clam samples required by WDOH before any recreational razor clam opener. As you can see, the Long Beach and Copalis samples are all below the action level for domoic acid, Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP). As a result, WDOH has allowed WDFW to proceed with this Long Beach and Copalis razor clam harvest opener. Testing will continue on Long Beach Copalis and if toxin levels remain low, additional digging will be scheduled on these beaches later in January. Details will be forthcoming.

This is the first of two rounds of Mocrocks razor clam samples required by WDOH before any recreational razor clam opener. As you can see, the Mocrocks samples are all below the action level for domoic acid, Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison (DSP). As a result, IF the next round of samples (scheduled for collection  before the end of the year) test below the action level, WDFW will announce tentative dates for a razor clam dig on Mocrocks in January – likely around the good tides near January 22, 2016. More details will be forthcoming.

 Domoic acid levels at Twin Harbors remain consistently above the action level. Testing will continue on this beach, but we have no prediction when digging might open.

 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 the two required sample collections.

 Note that in all of these samples; only razor clam meat tissue is tested.

 These samples were collected on either 12/29/15 or 12/30/15

 Long Beach Reserve (north):

domoic acid =  19 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Long Beach Area XA (middle):

domoic acid =  18 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Long Beach Area A (south):

domoic acid =  11 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Twin Harbors Area XH (north):

domoic acid =  18 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Twin Harbors Area CL (middle):

domoic acid =  18 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Twin Harbors Area G (south):

domoic acid =  33 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Copalis Area GS (north)

domoic acid =  18 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Copalis Area XL (middle)

domoic acid =  8 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Copalis Area XK (south)

domoic acid =  13 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

 

Mocrocks Area MP (north)

domoic acid =  18 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Mocrocks Area CP (middle)

domoic acid =  13 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

Mocrocks Area BC (south)

domoic acid =  7 ppm

PSP = none detected

DSP = pending (expected to be very low)

 This data can also be found on our web site at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_levels.html

For more information on razor clams, including how seasons are set, population sampling techniques and how to dig, clean and cook razor clams please see the following link:

http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/razorclm/razorclm.htm

 

http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/hab/

 Dan L. Ayres   |   Coastal Shellfish Manager  

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife   |   Region Six

48 Devonshire Road   |   Montesano, WA 98563   |   USA

Office: (360) 249-4628 (ext. 209)   |   Mobile: (360) 470-3557

FAX: (360) 249-1229   |   WDFW Radio Call Sign W-758

 

WDFW approves razor clam digs at Copalis and Long Beach

wdfg

OLYMPIA – State shellfish managers have approved razor clam digs starting later this week at Long Beach and Copalis Beach.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed the digs after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those two beaches are safe to eat. All other beaches remain closed to recreational razor clam digging.

Digs at both beaches are on evening tides and include a two-day opening (Jan. 8 and 9) at Copalis and an eight-day dig (Jan. 7 to 14) at Long Beach.

“The season opener at Copalis over the Christmas holiday was a huge success with most diggers filling their limits,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.
“We’re excited that we can open Long Beach for the first time this season.”

Razor clam digging will remain closed on Washington’s other coastal beaches until domoic acid levels drop below the threshold (20 parts per million) set by state public health officials.

Domoic acid posed a problem for shellfish fisheries along Washington’s coast for much of 2015. The natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.

WDFW is continuing to monitor toxin levels on all Washington beaches and will open other areas as soon as clams are safe to eat.

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

  • Jan. 7, Thursday, 4:57 p.m.; 0.1 feet, Long Beach
  • Jan. 8, Friday, 5:37 p.m.; -0.4 feet, Long Beach, Copalis
  • Jan. 9, Saturday, 6:16 p.m.; -0.8 feet, Long Beach, Copalis
  • Jan. 10, Sunday, 6:55 p.m.; -1.0 feet, Long Beach
  • Jan. 11, Monday, 7:34 p.m.; -1.0 feet, Long Beach
  • Jan. 12, Tuesday, 8:14 p.m.; -0.8 feet, Long Beach
  • Jan. 13, Wednesday, 8:56 p.m.; -0.4 feet, Long Beach
  • Jan. 14, Thursday, 9:40 p.m.; 0.2 feet, Long Beach

Ayres noted the best digging usually occurs one to two hours prior to low tide.

Under state law, diggers 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.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2015-16 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.

More information about razor clams is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

WDFW tentatively plans 24 days of razor clam digging in April, May

razor_clam_digging_shawn_calkins_2015_westport_washington

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has proposed a series of razor clam digs in April and May to cap a season packed with more “beach days” than any time in the past 25 years.

After a nine-day opening that runs through March 24, state shellfish managers plan to end the season with another 24 days of digging on morning low tides at various beaches from April 4 through May 17.

Final approval of those digs depends on the results of marine toxin tests, which have consistently shown this season that the clams are safe to eat.

“We’ve had a great season so far and we expect it to continue that way in the months ahead,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “We have an abundance of clams on most beaches, which makes for some terrific digging opportunities.”

Proposed digging days in April and May, along with the remaining digs in March, are posted on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. No digging is allowed on any beach after noon.

Counting the new dates in April and May, Ayres said WDFW plans to provide a total of 286 “beach days” of digging on Washington beaches this season – the highest number since 1989. He defined a “beach day” as one beach open for a single day, so four beaches open for one day counts as four beach days.

Annual razor clam seasons typically end in mid-to-late May, when the clams begin to spawn and are less desirable for eating, Ayres said.

He reminds diggers they will need a valid 2015-16 fishing license to participate in razor clam digs effective April 1, the beginning of the new license year. Various types of fishing licenses are available online (fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (866-246-9453), and from authorized license dealers throughout the state.

Meanwhile, state wildlife managers are urging clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula and on a section of Twin Harbors beach.

The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.” Both species are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Nesting season for snowy plovers and streaked horned larks begins in early April, coinciding with the scheduled clam digs,” said Anthony Novack, district biologist for WDFW. “Snowy plover nests are difficult to see, so it’s easy to disturb or destroy them without even being aware of it. If an adult is scared off its nest, it leaves the eggs exposed to predators like crows and ravens.”

To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line, Novack said.

Dig dates in May for Copalis and Mocrocks will be announced after harvest from the April digs has been analyzed. Upcoming digs in April and May are scheduled on the following dates, pending favorable marine toxin results:

  • April 4, Saturday, 7:23 a.m.; 0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • April 5, Sunday, 7:57 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • April 6, Monday, 8:32 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 7, Tuesday, 9:09 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 8, Wednesday, 9:48 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 9, Thursday, 10:32 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 10, Friday, 11:23 a.m.; 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 17, Friday, 6:03 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 18, Saturday, 6:52 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • April 19, Sunday, 7:39 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • April 20, Monday, 8:25 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 21, Tuesday, 9:11 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 22, Wednesday, 9:57 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 23, Thursday, 10:46 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 24, Friday, 11:38 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 2, Saturday, 6:23 a.m., 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 3, Sunday, 6:59 a.m., -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 7, Thursday, 9:30 a.m., -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 8, Friday, 10:14 a.m., -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 9, Saturday, 11:03 a.m., -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 10, Sunday, 11:58 a.m., -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 15, Friday, 4:58 a.m., -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 16, Saturday, 5:50 a.m., -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 17, Sunday, 6:38 a.m., -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors