Head’s Up, Sound Shellfishers, Season Changes At Beaches

THE FOLLOWING ARE EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICES FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Sport clam season opens April 1 at Sequim Bay State Park

Action: Opens the sport clam season.

Effective date: Open April 1, 2014, until further notice.

Species affected: All clams.

Location: Sequim Bay State Park. This beach is located in Clallam County, near Sequim.

Reason for action: Surveys indicate that the clam population on this beach has increased, allowing for a longer season that opens one month earlier than last year.

Sport clam, oyster season delayed at South Indian Island County Park

Action: The sport clam and oyster fishing season will be delayed until July 1.

Effective date: Open July 1 until further notice.

Species affected: All clams and oysters.

Location: South Indian Island County Park. This beach is located in Jefferson Co., near Port Townsend.

Reason for action: Surveys indicate that the clam population on this beach has decreased, requiring a season with reduced effort in 2014. The delayed opening does this, and also provides a more continuous recreational opportunity at public beaches in the Admiralty Inlet area (including Oak Bay County Park, Fort Flagler State Park, and Port Townsend Ship Canal).

Sport clam and oyster season delayed at North Bay (Case Inlet)

Action: The sport clam and oyster fishing season will be delayed until June 1.

Effective date: Open June 1 through July 31, 2014.

Species affected: All clams and oysters.

Location: Oyster Reserves of North Bay (Case Inlet). This beach is located in Mason County, near Victor and Allyn.

Reason for action: Harvesting of clams and oysters on this beach continues to increase significantly, and surveys indicate that the clam population has declined. Moreover, the state clam share was overharvested in 2013 by more than 6,000 pounds, requiring a much shorter season in 2014. The June-July season maximizes the number of good low tides available for harvesters.

Sport clam and oyster season delayed at Potlatch State Park, Potlatch DNR Tidelands

Action: The sport clam and oyster fishing season will be delayed until July 1.

Effective date: Open July 1 through Aug. 31, 2014.

Species affected: All clams and oysters.

Location: Potlatch State Park and Potlatch DNR Tidelands. These adjacent beaches are located in Mason County, near Hoodsport.

Reason for action: Surveys indicate that the clam population at Potlatch State Park has increased, and the clam population at adjacent Potlatch DNR Tidelands has remained stable. But the state share of the clam quota on both beaches was overharvested in 2013. This overharvest must be “paid back to the resource,” requiring a delayed and shorter season.

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