OLYMPIA - Razor clam diggers can fill their limits at Copalis Beach over the Christmas holiday now that state shellfish managers have approved a three-day opening.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today approved the Copalis dig, scheduled Dec. 24, 25 and 26, after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. All other beaches remain closed to recreational razor clam digging.
Elevated levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of algae, have previously forced WDFW to close all Washington's beaches to clam digging.
Clams from Copalis Beach have been cleared by state public health officials after several rounds of testing, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
"This first razor clam dig of the season couldn't come at a better time for diggers hoping to add clams to their holiday dinners," Ayres said.
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. WDFW will continue to monitor toxin levels on all Washington beaches and will open other areas as soon as clams are safe to eat.
Ayres noted that the best digging usually occurs one to two hours prior to low tide.
The upcoming dig is scheduled at Copalis Beach on the following dates and low tides: Dec. 24, Thursday, 5:47 p.m.; -1.2 feet, Copalis Dec. 25, Friday, 6:30 p.m.; -1.3 feet, Copalis Dec. 26, Saturday, 7:12 p.m.; -1.1 feet, Copalis
The Copalis Beach stretches from the Copalis River south to the Grays Harbor north jetty and includes the popular areas of Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis. It is the only beach that will be open for digging.