Clam Limits Double on Oregon Coast for One Species
(Newport, Oregon) – 2013 brings some new laws about snagging tasty treats off the beaches. There is great news for avid clam diggers on the Oregon coast: you can now take twice as many of the purple varnish clams as before.
Another new rule regarding shellfish: divers must report their rock scallop harvest.
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has increased the daily catch limit for purple varnish clams from 36 per day to 72 per day this year. The purple varnish clam is also known throughout the Pacific Northwest as the purple mahogany clam, the dark mahogany clam, the varnish clam, and the savory clam.
The commission added these new rules based on a series of public proposals.
The purple varnish clam is not a native species from Oregon but rather comes from Asia, introduced into British Columbia and Puget Sound in the early 1990s via ships’ ballast water. Populations of purple varnish clams are well established in several Oregon bays and estuaries including Sand Lake, Siletz Bay, Alsea Bay, Siuslaw River estuary and Coos Bay.
Clam diggers in Oregon must possess a valid Oregon shellfish license ($7 for Oregon residents; $20.50 for non-residents).
Shellfish can be contaminated by natural events such as harmful algal blooms or man-made events such as sewage spills. Always check the Oregon Department of Agriculture Shellfish Safety Hotline (503-986-4728 / 1-800-448-2474) or web-site (http://oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/pages/shellfish_status.aspx) for the most recent public health advisories and closures.
Purple varnish clams, courtesy ODFW
The new rock scallops rules mean divers who harvest rock scallops will be required to report their catch to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife using a free harvest card. Since 1996, ODFW has required all recreational abalone harvesters to complete an annual harvest card. This same card now includes space for rock scallop harvesters to report their catch.
ODFW biologists will use this reporting of abalone and rock scallop harvesting to improve management of the species. ODFW called the information “important” to that task.
Divers can get abalone/scallop permits by contacting ODFW Marine Resources Program in Newport 541-867-4741, Charleston 541-888-5515 or Astoria 503-325-2462. For more information visit: (http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/other/rock_scallops.asp).
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