State shellfish managers are seeking public input on the upcoming razor clam season. Officials with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are accepting comments on digging days, catch limits and other management options.
The 2012-13 season is tentatively set to begin in mid-October.
Stock assessment done this summer shows strong increases in the number of harvestable size clams on all ocean beaches, except Kalaloch.
“We are looking forward to a really great season,” said Dan Ayres, state coastal shellfish manager.
“This season, we are expecting more digging days than average and certainly a lot more than last season,” he said.
The size of the clams will be on the small side at the start of the season, averaging between 4 to 4 1/2 inches.
“But they’ll grow quickly through the season and by spring we’ll be looking at some very nice and abundant clams,” Ayres said.
That’s good news following the 2011-12 season in which the total number of clams dug was the lowest in more than a decade, Ayres said.
The 2011-12 season, which ended May 7, produced a total of 2.5 million clams harvested in 195,000 digger trips, the lowest harvest and effort in the last 12 years, Ayres said.
In an average year, there are about 250,000 digger trips, with an average annual harvest around 3.2 million clams.
He said the drop mirrors a decline in clam numbers, due to the natural cycle of razor-clam populations.
Suggestions for the upcoming season can be sent via email to email@example.com or by mail to RazorClams, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA 98563. Comments must be received by Oct. 9.
Management options for the upcoming razor clam season are available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.