Razor Clamming Opens Back Up on N. Oregon Coast
(Astoria, Oregon) – Clatsop beaches (from Seaside to Warrenton) have been closed to razor clamming since mid-summer, but this week the fun opens back up. Clamming resumes on October 1 – on Tuesday. And there's some exceptionally good news to go with it for future clamming.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) closes this favorite activity down in the area for conservation reasons. While this stretch of the Oregon coast is packed with by far the most razor clams in the region, closing down for a time keeps that population strong.
During this closure, which started July 15, ODFW again conducted stock assessment surveys to determine the status and health of the population. For almost three months, ODFW staff collected information about the distribution, abundance, and sizes of razor clams. Similar surveys have been conducted annually since 2004.
It turned to be exceptionally good news, ODFW said. The survey found the highest number of razor clams in all the years of they have been conductiong them. About 16 million razor clams inhabit the 18-mile stretch of beach located between the Columbia River south jetty and Tillamook Head.
This estimate of clam abundance is significantly greater than the previous peak of 9 million clams in 2005. The average size of clams was a little over 2 ½ inches, and only a few larger than 4-inches were found. Razor clams were distributed fairly evenly along the entire stretch of beach.
“These high numbers are very encouraging,” said Matt Hunter, ODFW’s Shellfish Project Leader. “Clatsop beach hasn’t seen a significant recruitment since 2009 so this bodes well for future years.”
Hunter said that if the small razors survive this winter, the spring will be an “epic season.”
“Although few of the larger clams were seen during the assessment, the smaller clams were plentiful,” Hunter said. “Harvesters will just need to be selective about which shows they dig, understand that there are lots of small clams on the beach, and be mindful of the regulations.”
Hunter said that clammers need to remember they still have to keep even the little ones. It is a basic regulation of razor clamming that you must keep the first 15 clams regardless of their size or condition.
To help ensure clamming opportunities in the future, ODFW reminds clam diggers to follow these clam harvesting rules:
For the latest shellfish safety information call the shellfish safety hotline before harvesting: 1-800-448-2474.
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