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Bad News for Oregon Coast Razor Clamming; Good News for Crab

Published 10/26/2018 at 4:54 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Bad News for Oregon Coast Razor Clamming; Good News for Crab

(Oregon Coast) – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has more bummer news for those who love razor clamming on the northernmost part of the Oregon coast: Clatsop County beaches – the most prolific on the coastline – will remain closed to the activity until March 1. (Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium).

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There is better news for crabbing from state officials, however.

Harvesting of razor clams is open everywhere else along the Oregon coast, except for the beaches of Seaside, Gearhart and Warrenton. The ban prohibits all harvesting, whether recreational or commercial, along that entire 18-mile section.

Normally, razor clamming resumes on October 1 after the annual conservation shutdown each July. This time, however, stock assessments found the population still undersized – not even desirable to recreational clammers. The population was dominated by small clams with shell lengths between 2-3 inches.

A public meeting was held on October 22 in Seaside where ODFW asked for feedback on what action to take, which included the option of keeping the season closed through the spring. ODFW reports the public who attended the meeting and and those who sent in comments supported its proposal to delay opening of the season, giving clams a chance to grow into a size suitable for harvest.

“We had great feedback from those who attended the meeting and those who could not,” said Matt Hunter, ODFW Shellfish Project Leader. “The consensus was to give the small clams a chance to grow and delay until the spring to provide a quality razor clamming experience. During the closure, ODFW shellfish staff will continue to monitor the growth of razor clams to ensure they are growing adequately.”

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Those razor clams in other areas of the Oregon coast are lower in number as well, the agency reports.

“Harvesters will need to actively pound the sand for razor clams to show,” ODFW said in a press release. “Harvesters should plan to be on the harvest area at least two hours before low tide and focus on sections of the beach that show exposed sand bars as these areas could have more clams showing than other areas.”

Bay clamming is open everywhere on the coast.

There is much better news for crabbing along the coastal waterways.

While bays around Tillamook, Wheeler, and Newport are experiencing a high volume of crabbers, most are reporting a catch success that varies, ODFW said. The bright side: crabs are filling out their shells and providing good quality meat.

The southern Oregon coast has been seeing rather good numbers, including Coos Bay estuary and lower Coquille estuary. Dungeness crab catching is good on the docks in Charleston and at Weber’s Pier in Bandon.

Right now through winter can be the most rewarding for crabbing, ODFW said, and are often known as the best time of year to go chasing the scrumptious crustacean. Crab molt in summer and then grow later in the year, filling their shells with tasty meat. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

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Photo above courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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