Recently, the Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife caught a group of people harvesting significantly more clams than they were allowed.
Police confiscated more than 230 pounds of clams and seven people received various citations.
It was shocking to learn that harvesting over limits is an ongoing problem not only on Whidbey Island, but in Penn Cove specifically.
Jeff Lee, from Fish and Wildlife, said people will go to great lengths to harvest more than they are allowed.
He said people have shucked clams on the beach and hidden them in their clothing. They’ve hidden bags in bushes and come back for them later.
In the case of June 14, the group, with five licenses, was allowed 50 pounds. They had 280, plus well over the limit of seven horse clams per license.
Our ecosystem is a fickle thing. There are checks and balances put in place for a reason.
While police can’t have their eyes on every beach at all times, it’s great to see the public taking action and reporting illegal activity.
While Lee did attempt to find a use for the confiscated clams by trying to give them to an area food bank, unfortunately it didn’t work out and those clams had to be disposed of.
What a waste.
If we don’t protect our natural resources, one day they may not be there.
Again, checks and balances.
A healthy community is an active and engaged community.
If you witness illegal harvesting, poaching or whatever, don’t be an observer, take action and call authorities.