Clam Die Off On Hood Canal Beaches Affects Tribal Harvesters

BRINNON (July 22, 2002) Sometime this past winter hundreds of thousands of clams on three popular beaches in north Hood Canal inexplicably died. The die off occurred on three cornerstone beaches for area treaty tribes, compelling them to decrease harvest by up to 40 percent. “We’re going to slow down our harvesting, because these beaches are very important to us,” said David Herrera, Skokomish Tribal Fisheries Manager. Tribal and state managers haven’t determined the exact cause of the death on the three beaches; Quilcene, Dosewallips and Duckabush. But, what likely happened was an extremely low tide last winter exposed the clams to frigid air. Dead clams are noticeable because they become unable to hold themselves closed.