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Latin Name: Panopea abrupta

Geoduck Other Common Names: Elephant Trunk Clam, King Clam

Description: The geoduck is the largest Then, to remove the tough skin covering the siphon
burrowing clam in the world that is also called the and body meat, place the clam under hot running
elephant trunk clam in Chinese. As a member of water until the skin begins to bubble and loosen.
the class of mollusks called bivalve, a geoduck When ready, you should be able to peel off the
has a large meaty siphon or neck extending from skin easily to expose the edible creamy-smooth
its large oval shaped shell. In British Columbia its flesh underneath.
shell can grow to an average of 195 mm (7 inches) To further prepare for use, cut the siphon off from
and weigh an average of 1 kg (2.2 lbs). the body meat and split it lengthwise in half across
The siphon of the geoduck has a sweet, fresh sea the two apertures showing the thicker end. Cut
flavour and crunchy texture. each piece of the siphon into paper thin slices on
a sharp bias or as desired. After trimming off the
Product Forms: Geoducks are most popular spongy parts from the body meat, this part can
live, but the siphon meat is also available chilled either be sliced and served, or cut up and used as
or flash-frozen and then vacuum-packed. Dried an ingredient in, for example, a chowder.
body meat is available occasionally.
The geoduck’s sweet flavour and crunchy texture
Availability: The geoduck fishery is conducted reveal themselves best when eaten either raw (in
throughout the year and accordingly all product sushi or sashimi) or when very quickly cooked (in
forms are available throughout the year. a stir fry or hot pot). Geoduck toughens very
quickly when cooked so a quick plunge into boiling
Buying Tips: When buying live geoducks, look water or sauce is all that is needed for best results.
for ones that have fresh, plump and firm looking Dried body meat is sometimes used in the
siphons. Although light beige-coloured siphons preparation of Chinese soup tonics.
are preferred by many customers, the taste and
texture of the meat inside is the same regardless Nutritional Facts:
of the exterior siphon colour. Per 100 grams (3.5 oz) of raw edible portion
Storing Tips: Live geoducks that are wrapped Calories 85
in a damp cloth will keep in the coldest part of a Total Fat 2.0 g
refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. If the geoduck will be Protein 15.5 g
used on the same day that it is obtained, remove Cholesterol 0.0 mg
the body and siphon from the shell and discard Source: Sidwell, Virginia D., Chemical and Nutritional
the dark, egg-sized oval stomach. Composition of Finfishes, Whales, Crustaceans,
Mollusks, and their Products; NOAA Technical
Preparation/Usage: To prepare, first remove Memorandum, 1981.
the body and siphon from the shell and discard
the stomach by inserting a small knife in between For Additional Information And A List
the shell and the body of the geoduck around the Of Current Product Suppliers, Contact:
base of the siphon and cutting along the edge of Underwater Harvesters Association
the shell to separate the shell from the body. Once PO Box 39005
the stomach is trimmed off and discarded, the 3695 West 10th Avenue
siphon and crescent-shaped strip of body meat Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6R 4P1
will remain. Phone: 604.734.5929
Fax: 604.734.5919
E mail: Website:
Area of Origin and Range of Availability: This species is also one of the longest living animals
Geoducks (Panopea abrupta ) are only found in in the world as it can live more than 100 years.
commercial volumes along the Pacific coast from The age of a geoduck is determined by the number
Washington state, all through British Columbia, and of rings on its shell. From 1993 to 2000, Underwater
as far as south east Alaska from the intertidal zone Harvesters Association researchers collected 12,800
to depths of 100 metres (328 feet). geoducks along the British Columbian coast. This
Similar, but smaller, species of panopea exist in research uncovered the oldest geoduck aged to date
Japan, New Zealand and Argentina. in the world – a 168 year old geoduck from Tasu Sound
on the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia.
Harvest Volume: After peaking in 1987, geoduck
landings for the last 5 years have remained stable
at about 2,000 tonnes per year.
Harvest Method: Geoducks are individually
harvested one at a time by divers using a directed Master Chef Wong
water jet called a “stinger” which loosens the Of Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant (Vancouver, BC)
substrate around the clams and allows them to be
lifted out of the sand. Presents : Geoduck Sautéed With Mixed Vegetables
(Serves 4)
Geoduck stocks are managed based on a
conservative target exploitation rate of 1% annually. 8 oz geoduck siphon, butterflied 250 g
Processing Method: Immediately after harvest 1 bunch choi sum or gailan, stems only, blanched 1 bunch
and until delivery to a federally registered shellfish 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, for vegetables 15 mL
establishment, all commercial geoducks are packed 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced 1
in “cages” with a maximum weight (while empty) of 1/2 cup each, red and green peppers, 125 mL
2.3 kg (5 lbs) per cage. They are then transferred by cut into matchsticks
water and land to registered buyers in the Lower 1 cup celery, cut into matchsticks 250 mL
Mainland of British Columbia where they are carefully
packaged and shipped live to markets where they sugar, salt & pepper to taste
are placed in holding tanks for viewing and sale. cut into 2 inch (5 cm) segments, for garnish
Contrary to common belief, geoducks are not held 2 Tbsp chicken stock 30 mL
in water during transport. If kept cool and moist, 1 tsp cornstarch 5 mL
they can survive for days out of water. 2 tsp oyster sauce 10 mL
Markets: The majority of geoducks are exported 1/4 cup vegetable oil, for geoduck 50 mL
to Hong Kong and China while a small amount is
exported to the United Stated or sold in British 1. Score the inside surface of the geoduck siphon in a cross-hatch
Columbia. pattern (as you would do with a squid), then cut it into batons
approximately the thickness of an average French fry.
Sustainability: A number of measures have
been implemented to sustain the geoduck fishery 2. Arrange choi sum around the rim of a round or oval serving platter.
including: licence limitation; individual vessel quotas;
a three-year rotational fishery in which only parts 3. Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of oil in a wok over medium high heat.
of the coast are fished in any one year but at three Add onion, peppers and celery and stir-fry until fragrant but
times the annual rate; industry funded monitoring crisp, about 2 minutes.
program including port validation of all landings, on- Season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
grounds observer coverage, market sample and Transfer to the centre of the platter and keep warm.
biological sample collection and processing, and
survey data collection; a conservative quota system 4. In a small bowl, mix together chicken stock, cornstarch,
allowing a total allowable catch of 1% of the and oyster sauce.
estimated biomass; protected areas, and; low impact 5. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in wok over low heat.
and limited bicatch harvest methods. Add geoduck and stir-fry until half cooked or when meat just
Historical and Anecdotal Information: begins to turn opaque.
The name geoduck comes from the Nisqually Indian Be careful not to overcook. Strain and discard the oil.
“gwe-duk” meaning “dig-deep”. Return wok to high heat, add geoduck and stock mixture and toss
Commercially harvested in British Columbia since briefly until sauce is thickened and the geoduck is well coated.
1976, the geoduck fishery now ranks first in landed Pour over vegetables in platter and serve with rice.
value among the invertebrate fisheries in British