Razor clam diggers will receive some good news at a pre-season public meeting scheduled by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in Long Beach this month.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said tests conducted over the summer point to another year of strong razor clam populations and digging opportunities.
"The test 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 will present an update on coastal razor clam stocks and discuss options for structuring this year's season at a public meeting Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at the City of Long Beach Depot, located at 102 Third St., NW. An overview of this year's stock assessment is posted on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.
WDFW will begin setting openings for the fall digging season once the public has had a chance to comment.
During the 2012-13 season, diggers harvested 6.1 million razor clams, the highest number in 15 years. 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 approximately $37 million in economic benefits, based on the model used in the study.