Update on Razor Clam Harvest at Olympic National Park Set for October 7

Will this be the scene at Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park this fall? Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife photo.

A bounty from the sea is in the offing at Olympic National Park, where there could be a razor clam season this fall after two years without clamming allowed.

A meeting on the chances of a harvest this year will be held by National Park Service and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists on Wednesday, October 7, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Washington Department of Natural Resources conference room at 411 Tillicum Lane near Tillicum Park in Forks.

According to park officials, the Kalaloch razor clam population has rebounded after two consecutive years of low numbers and small clam sizes. The annual stock assessment in August showed that the beach has approximately 3.5 million adult clams, with an average size of about four inches, they said. There are numerous small juvenile clams as well, suggesting a strong reproductive season this summer.

Based on this information, Olympic National Park plans to open Kalaloch for razor clam harvest this season, beginning in October, pending satisfactory toxin testing results. Dig dates for October and November will be announced soon.

Kalaloch was last opened for razor clam harvest in spring 2007; low population numbers in late 2007 and 2008 prevented harvest since then. Park biologists believe that the decline was due to the shellfish disease “NIX,” also known as nuclear inclusion X. This disease, unique to razor clams, is a naturally occurring bacterium that destroys the clam’s gill function. While harmless to humans, high levels of NIX can be fatal to razor clams.

Status and harvest predictions for the state’s southern razor clam beaches will also be discussed at the upcoming meeting.

Comments

Local papers are reporting tentative clamming dates for Kalaloch as Oct 17-18, noon to midnight; also Nov 4-7, Nov. 14-17, Dec, 2-5, and Dec. 31-Jan. 3: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/othersports/2009976423_fish01.html