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Pismo Beach reminding community about harvesting rules ahead of Clam Festival

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Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 22:50:49-04

The Pismo Clam nearly vanished from its namesake beach, but lately, it’s been making a comeback and in big numbers over the past few years.

Pismo Beach is also known as the clam capital of the world, claiming its title back in 1947.

The Pismo Clam has a long history tied to the city. Clamming is something Tim King from Bakersfield said he remembered doing with his father.

“I’ve been coming to Pismo since probably I was 5-years-old. We would bring the RV and camp out and I and my dad would go out early on the beach and we would clam. We got plenty of clams back then," said King.

While the Pismo Clam saw a decrease in population back in 2016, the City of Pismo Beach is starting to see an increase.

The most recent numbers are from 2021 showing a population size of 25,000, according to the city.

Ahead of the clam festival happening this weekend, city officials are reminding the community about the regulations and rules to follow when clam harvesting.

"The city partnered with Cal Poly in order to make sure we could identify what happened to the clams, why are they coming back, so that we could help figure out the long-term sustainability or the population," said Pismo Beach assistant city manager Jorge Garcia.

There are regulations to follow when it comes to clamming. The clam itself needs to be about 4.5 inches or bigger. If not, the clam must be reburied two inches deep.

Other regulations include not harvesting more than 10 clams per day and individuals needing a fishing license.

“My dad made sure we followed the rules, It wasn’t the right size, you couldn’t keep it," said King.

There rules are enforced. Garcia said hundreds of citations have been issued over the past couple of years.

“A typical citation is $100 per clam and we have unfortunately, we've seen people take hundreds up to 700 clams at a time and that’s really a travesty because we want to make sure that generations to come are able to enjoy the clam," said Garcia.

City officials say if you do see someone breaking the rules, you can call (805) 773-2208 to report it.

The 76th annual Clam Festival is taking place this coming weekend.