SeaFood Business

MAR 2014

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Special Feature Visit us online at www.seafoodbusiness.com March 2014 SeaFood Business 45 form — creating a serious problem for both wild and farmed producers who rely on its high value. By the end of December, Washington's Department of Natural Re- sources reported a revenue loss of almost $1 million from the wild fshery because of the trade issue. Hopes for a quick end to the ban ended on Jan. 23 with a letter from Chi- nese ofcials to NOAA that raised questions about U.S. health procedures. Among the ongoing issues is what part of the animal is typically consumed. After Washington state ofcials had traced the source of the shipment in question to Pov- erty Bay, they tested geoduck there for arsenic and found the edible portions below the Chinese standard. But "edible portions" didn't include the skin and "Chinese consumers eat the geoduck meat and skin and sometimes the digestive gland, too," stated the letter. Geoducks have long been a part of Northwestern lore. An iconic postcard from Washington's Hood Canal shows a boy sitting on a gi- ant geoduck about to club it with a bat. But the com- mercial fshery for geoducks is relatively new, beginning in 1970, according to Bill Dewey, spokesman for Tay- lor Shellfsh Farms. Dewey says it began af- ter the Japanese, who use it in sushi, came looking for a substitute for horse clams. Te person they approached, Brian Hodgson, didn't real- ize the Northwest also had horse clams so he introduced them to geoducks instead. Until about 10 years ago, most geoducks were wild and harvested by divers. But farmed production has grown to almost 1.5 to 2 million pounds annually, says Dewey. Most of the production comes from Taylor and Seattle Shellfsh, also in Shelton. Tere are also two dozen or so smaller farming operations. "Te grand total of the in- dustry is farming on a little over 300 acres of tidelands," says Dewey. "Te entire in- dustry would ft inside two crop circles, but it's a very high value." In the wild geoducks can live to be more than 150 years old, and they grow slowly — it takes them about 39 years to reach a harvestable size. Dew- ey says the state began looking at ways to develop hatchery technique in the early 90s to speed up the process, which yielded little survival until ofcials developed a method of using PVC pipes in state parks. Tough funding ran out for that efort, Dewey says commercial operators learned from these state methods to commercialize them. First, seed is produced in a hatchery, then a series of nursery steps take the clams through the larva and plankton phases until they're about a half-inch in size. "Ten we take them out to farms and then we plant them in PVC nursery tubes [about a foot long] then we stamp it in the beach so there's 3 inches showing," says Dewey. "Ten we plant the geoduck in the holes and Grand Prize & 1st Place Smoked Products by Tilgner's Specialized Smoked Seafood Products LLC 1st Place Food Service by Trident Seafoods Corporation 1st Place Retail by Ocean Beauty Seafoods Sample the winners at booth #751-A We Thank Our Sponsors Continued on page 78 "Most people are like, 'I've had that in sushi before with a little bit of rice.' Then you get people from the Northwest who are like, 'I remember digging that with my dad.'" — Josh Green, chef, Ballard Annex Oyster House 44_45SpecialFeature_78Calendar.indd 45 2/19/14 2:24 PM

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