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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
National Park Service and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists will hold their annual informational meeting about the Kalaloch razor clam population and projections about this year’s razor clam harvest.
The meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 7 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Washington Department of Natural Resources conference room at 411 Tillicum Lane near Tillicum Park in Forks.
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. 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.