North Oregon Coast Sees Record Razor Clams
|Many, many clams along the beach at Seaside (photo Seaside Aquarium)
(Seaside, Oregon) – They've shown up in the millions
- nine million to be exact.
It all comes at a good time, just as the coast range passes
are cleared of snow. Razor clams have shot up to record numbers on the
north coast. The recent assessment by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(ODFW) for Clatsop Beach estimates them at more than nine million.
“In 2007, the Clatsop Stock Assessment estimated
that there were 1,481,000 clams on Clatsop beaches,” said Tiffany
Boothe of Seaside Aquarium. “In 2008 they estimated 9,257,000 clams.”
Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, called it
a record number.
“It’s certainly the biggest set in a decade,”
|Clamming can be exceptionally good at Arch Cape sometimes.
2006 had around five million estimated razor clams for
the Clatsop Beach cell – which stretches from Tillamook Head in
Seaside to the southern edge of the Columbia River.
A “set” is the term that basically means where
the creatures wind up after reproducing. This year, they happened to land
in highly accessible areas of north coast beaches, instead of farther
out beyond the tide line.
Chandler noted you only have two days to clam before your
license is expired. You have to obtain another after New Year’s
“90 percent of the razor clams are on this part of
the north coast,” Chandler said.
|Parts of Newport's Yaquina Bay can also be good for
razor clams, though the bulk of the population is between Seaside
The ODFW's website says that razor clams (Silqua patula)
are found throughout Oregon’s ocean beaches, but that Clatsop beaches
have the most stable populations because of beach stability.
Other areas such as, Agate Beach, Waldport Beach, Whiskey
Run, Myers Creek, and other beaches along the coast also have razor clam
populations, but tend to be less available.
For razor clams, the limit is 15. They can be taken by
hand or hand-powered tools.
“Razor clams may be taken by hand, shovel, or cylindrical
gun or tube,” says the Oregon Parks and Recreation website. “The
opening of the gun/tube must be either circular or elliptical with the
circular gun/tube opening having a minimum outside diameter of 4 inches
and the elliptical gun/tube opening having a minimum outside diameter
dimension of 4 inches long and 3 inches wide.”
|Keith Chandler digs deep for clams at Seaside in early
It is unlawful to remove clams from the shell before leaving
the harvest area.
For bay clams, like gaper, butter, cockle or littleneck,
the legal limit is 20 clams – a limit of 12 for gapers.
The taking of oysters is not allowed.
Rules do change periodically, so keep your eye on the state’s
website for that as well.
Regulation books are available free of charge where
angling and hunting licenses are sold. For more information contact the
Marine Resource Program (http://www.dfw.state.or.us/).
2040 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport, Oregon; or (541) 867-4741.
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