What is a Geoduck

The Incredible Geoduck

Geoduck is a large clam that mainly lives in the waters of Puget Sound area in the United States. It is the largest marine bivalve belonging to the family Bivalvia or Pelecypoda. The reason it is counted in the family Bivalvia is because it exhibits a distinct bi-halved external shell.

Although written as geoduck, the name gives a different sound when used in speech and that is gooey-duck, however, it has nothing to do with the regular ducks. It is considered to be the largest in its group and is found deep burrowed under the seawater in the form of colonies. Its conduit shaped neck can get up to over three feet long and the outer shell extends from about 18-23 cm. This large size also accounts for its heavy weight. For cooking purposes, only the neck part of the geoduck is utilized. It is mostly used in soups or stews, however, there are a number of different ways a geoduck can be consumed.

Finding Geoduck

GeoduckFinding geoducks is one thing and harvesting them is another. They are found at a few specific locations. Their habitats consist of undermining for up to 3-4 feet below the ocean sands. They have a long life and data shows that they can live up to more than a hundred years if left undisturbed. Geoducks are difficult to dig out and the task is so adventurous that in Washington, it is adapted as a recreational sport, although digging more than three geoducks per day is prohibited.

One should wait for extreme low tides to get a better harvest of geoducks. But they are exposed only for a few hours in a month’s time. In lower tides geoduck can be excavated with a shovel without the need of digging down deep.

Geoducks usually live a long life with average life span up to 140 to 146 years. It is because they don’t have too many enemies however, in Alaskan waters, sea otters and dogfish are said to be involved in eliminating geoducks. Uncovered geoduck siphons are also a target to starfish. If left alone by these predators, geoducks live a peaceful life with the least amount of activity, another reason for their longer lives.

The strange shape of a Geoduck is the reason for their low demand. The first geoduck fishery was found in 1970, which has now expanded. Geoducks are most loved in China and as seafood it enjoys the status of the most expensive one.

Chinese believe geoducks to be a sexual stimulant. It is included in various recipes such as Chinese hot pot or in sashimi. It is commonly used with soy sauce and chillies. It is also a gourmet food in Japan and Korea.

Geoducks are very costly, a single geoduck is commonly sold for up to $8 in Seattle’s whole sale market or when exported to Asia, a live geoduck can cost as much as $40 each. Due to its high price in the market and many restrictions on its harvest geoducks are a common target of stealing.

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