The jinx on opening the coastal razor clam digs at Long Beach this fall, winter and now spring along the southern-most coast stays in place as marine toxin testing is still a concern, but two beaches to the north will be open later this week.
Digs have now switched to morning low tides with Mocrocks open on Thursday (March 30, low tide is minus-0.6 feet at 8:58 a.m.); Copalis open Friday (March 31, -0.6 at 9:47 a.m.); Mocrocks open Saturday (April 1, -0.5 at 10:40 a.m.); and Copalis open Sunday (April 2, -0.1 at 11:39 a.m.).
The first samples of marine toxin numbers at Long Beach taken earlier last week were all in the single digits – 9 ppm – which is a pretty significant drop, and well below the 20 ppm action level. But, the latest test samples that came out showed they had increased with one area at 14 ppm, and another at 21 ppm.
“We’ll sample again on April 2, and hope for the best,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.
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Twin Harbors also remains closed due to domoic acid — a natural marine toxin produced by certain types of marine algae that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
The most recent digs saw either good or bad days depending on the weather, and diggers who stood their ground and didn’t give up until low tide found the most success.
“This weekend was tough and Friday we had really crappy conditions (at Mocrocks) with 14-foot swells,” Ayres said. “By Saturday the weather finally clamed down, and we had 4,500 diggers on Copalis, but it was a mixed bag of success. And for whatever reason the calms aren’t showing until right before the low water with some people giving up before then. Then (Sunday) night the weather went to crap again.”
Additional digging dates during morning low tides are April 14, 16 and 27 at Mocrocks; April 30 at Copalis; April 29 at Mocrocks; and April 13, 15 and 28 at Copalis. Final approval on these digs will be announced about a week prior to each series of openings.
Copalis Beach extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
Mocrocks Beach extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
For more details, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.