The geoduck—pronounced gooey duck—is quite an interesting species that is gaining in popularity in the United States. The geoduck is the world’s largest burrowing clam that originates from the Pacific Northwest in the United States. Even though they are only harvested and caught in the United States, Asian countries have been primarily interested in them over the past decades. Across the ocean, geoducks are looked upon as a delicacy. Here in the United States, it can be tricky to find a restaurant that serves geoduck, but the ones that do, know how to serve them to perfection.
Not many people are familiar with the geoduck. Oftentimes when a person sees a photo of one or one in real life, they are shocked and even sometimes grossed out. But there is no need for this; geoducks are a little strange-looking, yet super sweet and appetizing.
Continue reading to understand what the rave about geoducks is all about—and learn how to order your very own from Fathom Seafood.
Where are Geoducks From?
Image Credit / Semantic Scholar
The geoduck species primarily comes from the Puget Sound (Pacific Northwest) area, where they are living their best life happy as a clam. This is where the largest group of geoducks thrive. There they are both caught naturally in the wild and also harvested. In Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington, the geoduck is a huge part of the commercial fishing industry, where there are hundreds of millions inhabiting these areas.
Although Asian appetites bring a huge profit to fishermen and women, geoducks are not found near the continent of Asia.
Geoduck is not new to Americans. Northwest Native Americans have cooked with geoduck in their meals for hundreds of years. Their harvest of geoducks continues to this day, with native tribes holding treaty rights to half of the shellfish harvest in Washington state's Puget Sound, (HowStuffWorks).
How Are Geoducks Caught?
Since the geoduck clam buries itself 2 to 3 feet down beneath the muddy, sandy bottom of the ocean, they aren’t caught in the same way fishermen and women catch fish or crab.
Commercially, geoducks are retrieved from the wild via divers and are also harvested in geoduck farms along the coastline.
According to Dive Safe, geoduck divers are in high demand and make a good profit for going down under to retrieve geoducks.
Divers work at depth of 10 - 20 meters moving along the ocean floor looking for a geoduck show (the tip of a siphon or a dimple in the sand made by the tip of a siphon). When a diver finds a show, he uses a stinger (a nozzle with high-pressure water pumped down from the boat) to liquefy the sand around the clam. The clam is then carefully pulled out and gently placed in a bag that is clipped to the diver’s waist.
Image Credit / Geoduck.org
Geoduck harvesting is an $80 million a year industry, most of the species being shipped to China, Korea, and Japan, where the geoduck is highly craved.
Watch the process of recreational “geoduck hunting” in this quick video.
Why Do Geoduck Clams Look So Weird?
Image Credit / Underwater Harvesters Association via How Stuff Works
The geoduck definitely doesn’t look safe for work—however, geoducks are safe to eat and they are delicious! Their odd shape and features are that way specifically to help them survive.
The animal experts at How Stuff Works explains the anatomy of a geoduck clam and what the function of their interesting-looking body parts are:
There are two major parts to remember: the siphon or neck, which hangs out of the shell, and the mantle (also called breast), the meaty part that sits inside the shell. Native to the Pacific Northwest and Western Canadian coast, geoducks anchor themselves into the ground with a small "foot," and remain in one spot for their entire lives. Several feet below ground, the massive saltwater clam sucks in seawater, filtering for plankton and precious vitamins, and squirts out the excess through its impressive siphon. Their necks easily stretch from banana to baseball lengths, depending on how comfortably situated they are (they're happiest and longest when they're underground).
The geoduck’s body may be strange to look at, but it was made perfectly for its environment and for optimal survival.
A Few Extra FAQs About The Geoduck:
- Geoducks can get up to 10 pounds!
- Geoducks are seen as an aphrodisiac and a delicacy in parts of Asia.
- The oldest living geoduck known was 168 years.
- Geoduck meat can run between $20 and $30 in the United States.
- The mascot of Evergreen State College in Olympia is Speedy the geoduck.
- In Hong Kong, a single geoduck can be sold for between $60 to $150!
Did you know that Chef Andrew Zimmern is obsessed with the geoduck?
Fathom Seafood has provided Zimmern with fresh geoduck on different occasions to teach viewers on his social media and YouTube channel how to work with the eclectic geoduck.
There are also various geoduck recipes available on Fathom Seafood’s site if you’re not in the mood to eat it sashimi style.
How Can You Get Access To Fresh Geoduck Clam?
At Fathom Seafood, of course!
Purchase geoduck clam options, and have your box of clams shipped to you by the next day—within 24 hours! Not only is that convenient, but where else are you going to find such fresh geoducks at the click of a button?
Order today and indulge on this sweet, delectable geoduck clam tomorrow.