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Federal shutdown: Kalaloch beach shut for razor clamming

Economy

Federal shutdown: Kalaloch beach shut for razor clamming

The federal government shutdown has forced the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to rescind three razor clam digs at Kalaloch beach. The digs that were planned from January 19 to 21 had to be canceled owing to unavailability of Olympic National Park staff, the department said in a news release.

“We are closing Kalaloch beach to razor clam digging in response to a request by Olympic National Park,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “Olympic National Park staff are not available to help ensure a safe and orderly opening in the area,” he added. Furthermore, possible digging dates on Kalaloch beach are being accessed with staff from the department and the park.

The current partial government shutdown is affecting the harvest opportunity. To make up for the loss, the department and the national park plan to choose alternate days.

“Digs at three other beaches, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, and Copalis, will proceed as planned,” said Ayres. The digs were approved by State shellfish managers with WDFW on evening low tides last week after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. However, digging will not be allowed on any beach before noon.

The department has issued the names of the beaches, dates and evening low tides that will remain open to razor clamming on a news web page.

“For best results, diggers must hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide,” recommended Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “Diggers should always keep an eye on the surf and come prepared with good lighting devices for the digs that occur after dark,” he added.

The department has tentatively scheduled a dig from February 1 to 3, 2019. If the marine toxin tests are found favorable, then the dig will proceed, Ayres said.

The rules:

  • Diggers of age 15 years or older must have an applicable 2018-19 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 the department’s website and from license vendors across the state.
  • 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.

The proposed razor clam digs through February have been listed on the web page too.

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