Well, if you are coming into this article without a clue and are wondering, “what is a geoduck?” let me first make it clear that it is not an environmentally sustainable “green” duck that somehow doesn’t emit toxins or contribute to global warming.
And, for that matter, a geoduck is not a duck that has built-in GPS for long trips south. In fact, you might surprised that the answer to your question of, “what is a geoduck” can be answered simply. It is not a duck at all, it’s a clam and no one is quite sure how the geoduck got its name. Some suggest it was simply through miscommunication among biologists because one thing is for sure, these giant clams are almost indescribable, weighing in well above ten pounds, sometimes as much as close to twenty.
This probably conjures a strange monster-like image in your head of a giant clam capable of swallowing you whole. While they’re big, they’re not quite monstrous, although someone at Evergreen State College in Washington State must have found them profoundly frightening in some way, as the geoduck is this school’s mascot. I cannot help but think there is something vaguely disturbing about this mascot when applied to women’s sports and must lump the geoducks into the same category as the beaver, when applied to collegiate mascots in women’s sporting events.
For those who enjoy seafood and attend higer-end seafood markets, you’ve probably been exposed to the geoduck in your marketplace and have perhaps balked at the incredibly high price of this delicacy. While it is reputedly quite tasty and despite its designation as delicacy, is not a highly unusual flavor, part of the appeal of geoduck seems to be its status as a long-living clam that has seen an increasing amount of oversight and associated media attention. Growers and harvesters of geoduck often face stiff regulatory measures to help them avoid price gouging and to ensure that these rare creatures are harvested responsibly.
As with many other products of commercial fishing, farming, and harvesting, the geoduck is overfished as a result, measures have been taken to protect it. While it does not serve a large function in terms of regulating its marine environment, it is, like all other marine organisms, an important part of the ecosystem and must be protected against overfishing. There are strict control that govern geoduck farms and the task of working at one has been made notorious by the “Dirty Jobs” series in which the host paid a rather stinky visit to one. It’s hard to see how, after watching the “Dirty Jobs” about the geoduck farm anyone would ever want to eat one, let alone be likened to one in the name of sports, but that’s just me.
The geoduck has been receiving quite a bit of attention lately. Not only are they among the longest-living creatures in the sea, or elsewhere, for that matter, they are also highly valued both as an Asian delicacy and for purported benefits for increasing male performance. While there are, as of yet, no studies definintely linking the consumption of geoducks with bigger schlongs or the resulting better performance, it seems this might be part of the appeal of eating geoducks; they have a giant fleshy “siphon” that extends off the de-shelled clam that looks, well… rather phallic.