A Washington fish and wildlife officer has been neck-deep in policing Kitsap County clam beaches recently, including ticketing three people who allegedly dug up 37 times the daily limit.
The cases center around the Port Gamble area, with the most egregious the result of a citizen tip.
According to WDFW, Officer Patrick Murray got a call about an overlimit in progress at Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park and after checking with the reporting party for a suspect description, he arrived on scene as three people were just about to leave the beach.
When he contacted them, they allegedly said they weren’t aware of the limit on clams. When their buckets and backpacks were searched, Murray found 1,505 Manila clams.
The daily limit is 40 per person.
Murray cited the trio with overlimits in the first degree.
That case followed one that occurred earlier in the week at the Salsbury boat ramp near the Hood Canal bridge. There the warden checked a group of 10 diggers, two of whom didn’t have shellfishing licenses but claimed to be helping their pals.
That didn’t fly with Murray, who cited them for lacking licenses.
Next on Murray’s patrol beat was a stop at the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park where he watched two people clam for an hour. When he went to chat with them, he found only one had a license and the other claiming to just be a helper.
The helper eventually allegedly admitted to actually digging clams, and upon inspection the duo were found to be 80 clams over the limit and in possession of 34 horse clam necks.
The daily limit on horse clams is seven.
More tickets were written.
Later in the week, after his big bust, Murray found himself back at the Port Gamble beach where he observed several clammers and contacted them as they headed back to the parking area with their haul.
For a second time.
“When asked if they had any additional clams in their vehicle, they said ‘No,'” WDFW reports. “Low and behold, there were more clams in their vehicle in a cooler.”
They were cited for overlimits in the second degree, as well as failure to submit to an inspection and possession of an unclassified species.
As if Officer Murray and his pen haven’t been busy enough, WDFW says he recently came across a man who was allegedly in possession of nine times the legal limit on crabs.
Keep up the great work, officer!