I had a fascinating lunch today on the docks in Cortez Village, FL, with a wizened retired geoduck clammer from British Columbia. Some highlights:
Geoduck clams are quite large and burrow in sand flats about 60 feet deep and are harvested by divers who spot their tube protruding above the sand surface and basically blast them out with pressurized water. Divers are supplied with air from surface compressors and hoses, not my idea of safe diving.
The clams fetch $11.50 on the dock (at the present, US and Canadian $ are equal), are shipped alive to Vancouver where they 'recover' in tanks, and then are air-freighted to Hong Kong, where they then again recover, and are shipped to Taiwan where they are sold as delicacies as sashimi and in other preparations. They were, he said, a delicacy in Japan until the recession there 20 years ago, when they were $3.50 at the dock. Wealthy chinese are now the primary market. Karl added that 25 years ago a licencee could harvest 163,000 pounds per year (there is not a closed season) and they fetched $1/lb. then. Licencees now are limited to 60,000 lbs/yr, but at current prices the business is more profitable than during his career. There is no threat to them from pollutants or overharvesting. His nephew runs the business now. When he ate them, he would remove the 'sleeve' , slice them lengthwise, and sautee them in butter and garlic. Anyone familiar with these critters, and can provide more info? Sorry for the 5 year delay, but I met him and his wife only this afternoon.