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Coastal razor clam diggers will get more chances in the days ahead to dig up one of the most prized shellfish, and another beach has been added to the “go to” destinations.

“We’ve got the approval to add Long Beach as well as Copalis where we took a lot of clams when it opened around Christmas,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal-shellfish manager.

Digging will be open Thursday (Jan. 7) through Jan. 14 during evening low tides at Long Beach; and this Friday and Saturday (Jan. 8-9) only at Copalis Beach.

“We decided to go with just two days at Copalis this time around since we took a lot of clams during the three-day holiday period,” Ayres said. “It was definitely like an October opener at Copalis, and it was definitely because people had a pent up hunger for razor clams. The day after Christmas was a big day with 5,300 digger on that day alone.”

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At Copalis from Dec. 24-26, 11,900 diggers took home 172,000 clams for a 14.5 clams per person average, which is just short of a daily limit of 15 clams per person.

Tegan Yuasa of Mercer Island shows off a razor clam he dug at a coastal beach.
Tegan Yuasa of Mercer Island shows off a razor clam he dug at a coastal beach.

Long Beach had two clean test samples for marine toxins with the latest being 18 parts per million — the action level is 20 ppm.

“The other good news is Mocrocks got its first clean samples (18 ppm, 13 ppm and 7 ppm), and if we get another clean sample we’ll be able to add it possibly later this month,” Ayres said. “Unfortunately the toxin level at Twin Harbors is still high at 33 (ppm), and levels have been dancing around. I’m hopeful that we could possibly have some spring digging at Twin Harbors, but we’ll see about that.”

Last May, domoic acid — a natural marine toxin produced by certain types of marine algae — in razor clams skyrocketed well above the action level. Domoic acid can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

Razor-clam diggers have enjoyed back-to-back excellent seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15 that rank as some of the best seen in more than 30 years.

Clam population assessments taken this past summer showed populations remained healthy on all coastal beaches.