The Geoduck



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I was a geoduck diver from 1980 until 1985. I worked aboard the "CASO", "TWILA DAWN" and "ARLENE P" and "HIT N MISS"

These clams sold in those days for a mere 35-40 cents per pound. Coastal quotas were on a first come - first serve basis until the formation of the Underwater Harvesters Association. Quotas were equally divided among eligible license holders. Price soared to current levels approximately $9.00 per pound.


Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Veneroida
Family: Hiatellidae


Distribution: widespread, in sheltered to moderately exposed brackish or outer coastal areas.
Habitat: fine mud through sand to gravel; may be abundant in eelgrass; burrows up to 1 m; planktonic larvae dispersed by currents; adults create semi-permanent burrow.
Tidal elevation: subtidal, from 8 to 120 m depth; may occur in lower intertidal; occurs higher in intertidal in north coast; most common between 9-18 m subtidal.
Food: suspension feeder; mainly phytoplankton, but also zooplankton and detritus.
Predators: sea stars, crabs, fishes, and birds.


Slow; sexually mature by 3 yr; reaches 16 cm in 10 yr, little change in length in remaining years; may weight up to 4.5 kg. Geoducks have been aged up to 146 years old.


Largest clam in B.C., supports valuable subtidal commercial, Native and small intertidal sport fishery; in 1986 commercial harvest was over 5,000 t valued at $4.3 million.


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