Quinault Indian Nation

Dec. 2016

Indigenous tribes like the Quinault Indian Nation have depended on the ocean for millennia. Today, species like the razor clam provide Quinault members with sustenance and income. Watch our video to hear this Quinault Story from the Blue and to learn how Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary helps support culturally-important ecosystems.


This is a commercial razor clam dig that's a tribal-only dig and we call it our annual school clothes dig.

So we're heading up to Wreck Creek right up here, and We're on the Quinault tribal beach, the reservation beach, we call it the Point Grenville Beach.

We hold it at the end of end of August each year, and usually have about a two-day dig and it allows people to come up and commercially harvest clams.

They take them back to our fish processing plant in Taholah, and then they sell the clams there for cash money and it comes in very handy at the beginning of the school season.

We have built a relationship over the years with the sanctuary that has become actually quite fruitful for us.

We now work together on a number of different projects, we got together to get NOAA resources dedicated to mapping the area off our shore out here, in particular the Quinault Canyon area is critical to Quinault because we need to know more about our ocean ecosystems out there.

We also have a very good educational outreach relationship with the sanctuary now. They've come down and visited with our schoolchildren in the school. They've worked with them trying to get them interested in the ocean and in the technology that we use to monitor the ocean.

So we found a really good solid relationship with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

So they've always had clams as part of their subsistence, their sustenance, and also as trade items. They would dry them and take them down to the Columbia River and trade them for other fish and things of that nature in the days.

It's been so important for Quinault that it's part of their culture, it's part of their being.

Man that's a beauty. That's about as big and nice as a razor clam can get.

How do you like cooking them?

Frying them.

Frying them, yep.

So he's washing the sand off of them so when he goes and sells them they won't give him any trouble about that.

So you're at the Quinault Pride Seafood fish plant, that's a Quinault-owned business. And you saw the Quinault tribal members coming in and selling their commercial razor clams that they dug on the beach this morning.

So some of these people were digging a hundred pounds of clams or better.

He did it all by himself! He's learning.

Those digs are really important for families, for, just as I said, school clothes, school supplies.

It just helps everybody with supplemental income, whether it be for the children or just for their households.

Nice clams. Nice weather, too.