LONG BEACH, Wash - Clam diggers today got the green light to proceed with a razor clam dig Friday through Sunday on evening tides at three of Washington's coastal beaches. Oregon beaches are also open for digging.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved the three-day opening at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks beaches after a series of marine toxin tests confirmed that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.

Licenses to dig clams are required in Washington and are available at markets along the coast.

No clam digging will be allowed before noon on any beach during the three-day opening.

"We have plenty of clams at those three beaches, the test results look good and we're ready to roll," said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

That is not the case, however, at Copalis Beach and Kalaloch Beach, which will remain closed to razor clam digging this week.

No digging will be allowed at Copalis Beach because diggers harvested nearly all of that area's nontribal catch allocation during the three-day opening in September, Ayres said. Copalis Beach extends from the Grays Harbor North Jetty to the Copalis River, and includes beaches near Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut and Ocean City.

Kalaloch Beach will remain closed to digging because marine toxin levels in clams tested in one area of the beach were too high to meet state and federal health standards, Ayres said. Kalaloch Beach extends from the south beach campground to Brown's Point in the Olympic National Park.

As with past digs, WDFW approved this week's opening only after the state Department of Health had analyzed two sets of sample clams from each beach to determine if they meet state and federal safety standards.

"All three beaches opening for digging this week passed the marine toxin test with flying colors," said Ayres, noting that approximately 80 percent of the coastwide razor clam allocation is still available for harvest.

The best time to start digging for razor clams is an hour or two before low tide, said Ayres, who recommends taking a lantern for evening digs. Low evening tides during the three-day opening are:

• Friday: 6:29 p.m. (daylight time), -0.4

• Saturday: 7:16 p.m. (daylight time), -1.1

• Sunday: 7:03 p.m. (standard time), -1.6

Under WDFW and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 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.

The three beaches that will open to razor-clam digging include:

• Long Beach, from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.

• Twin Harbors, from the South Jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor south to the mouth of Willapa Bay.

• Mocrocks Beach, from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.

Digging is prohibited in three one-quarter-mile-wide razor clam reserves, which are marked by 10-foot orange metal poles with signs. The reserves are located just south of the Ocean City access road on Copalis Beach; on the county line approach to Twin Harbors Beach; and 2.8 miles north of the Oysterville access road on Long Beach.


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