Razor Clam harvesting began as a commercial operation as early as the late 1800s. By 1905 there were digging seasons established. In Washington State- mechanical digging was never allowed- so the harvest had to be done by hand shovels. Soon recreational harvesting began in earnest and the clam population began a decline- as did the commercial viability of harvesting for profit. By the 1960s... almost all razor clam harvesting was recreational and finally the beaches were closed to commercial harvesting.
The recreational limit per licensed person is 15 clams now.... and you must wait for the official digging dates. Many people use a 'clam gun'- a tube to catch the critters- but the experienced still prefer a shovel at times.
We wait anxiously for the Clam Tide to be announced- and rain or shine, light or dark- head out to the beach to in pursuit of our limit of this long time tradition.