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RAZOR CLAM DIG CLOSED DUE TO COVID - 19 CONCERNS

posted by Mike on 03/20/2020

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WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA 98501
http://wdfw.wa.gov/

March 19, 2020
Contacts:
Larry Phillips 360-870-1889;
Jason Wettstein, 360-902-2254

WDFW halts four-day razor clam dig that was to begin Friday, March 20

Pacific County Health Officials issue new order today as a measure to contain COVID-19

OLYMPIA – WDFW has halted a previously scheduled razor clam dig that was to begin tomorrow, Friday, March 20, in response to an order today by the Pacific County Health Officer advising the closure of beaches to razor clam digging.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) had approved a dig after vetting it with county officials and health departments in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, and after consultation with state health officials.

The cancelled digs include the following:

  • March 20, Friday 5:27 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 21, Saturday, 6:07 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis 
  • March 22, Sunday, 6:41 pm, 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • March 23, Monday, 7:12 pm, 0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

"WDFW is responsive to the needs of local communities, and we manage razor clams in consultation with our coastal communities to ensure sustainable harvest," said Larry Phillips, WDFW's coastal region director. "But, under these circumstances, we need to include more than sustainable harvest in our decision making and do what is the best for the community. We understand that the county health department is responding to a global pandemic and WDFW is cancelling these digs to support that work and keep folks healthy."

There was a lot of dialogue and a fairly long process to approve these digs in light of COVID-19 concerns, and it has been a rapidly evolving issue, he added.  "Typically, we would want to provide much more notice before cancelling a razor clam dig," said Phillips.

Given the level of concern expressed in the communities, and the fact that some of the beaches open to razor clam digging fall within multiple counties, we also elected to close all currently open beaches to razor clam digging in order to provide consistency in approach, added Phillips.

WDFW has tentatively scheduled additional digs through April. Approval of these digs will be based on the results of marine toxin tests, assessment of available health information and further developments in consultation with local and state health authorities.

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