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Razors clams aplenty, state predicts

Razor clam diggers received good news recently at a pre-season public meeting by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Dan Ayres, Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager, said tests conducted over the summer point to another year of strong razor clam populations and digging opportunities.

“The tests show an even higher density of razor clams on most beaches than last year, when diggers enjoyed a banner season,” Ayres said. “That will translate into more days of digging at popular beaches such as Long Beach and Twin Harbors, so long as we don’t have any marine toxin issues.”

State shellfish managers presented an update on coastal razor clam stocks and discussed options for structuring this year’s season at a public meeting Sept. 19 in Long Beach. An overview of this year’s stock assessment is posted at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html

Fish and Wildlife will also accept written comments on the stock assessment and possible digging options submitted to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov through Sept. 30. The department will begin setting openings for the fall digging season once the public has had a chance to weigh in.

During the 2012-13 season, diggers harvested 6.1 million razor clams, the highest number in 15 years. According to a Fish and Wildlife news release, diggers averaged 14.5 clams per day, just shy of the 15-clam legal limit.

Razor clam seasons are also an economic boon for small coastal communities, according to a study conducted by the University of Washington. Last year’s season generated an estimated $37 million in economic benefits.

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