The geoduck is one of North America's largest native clams and probably one of the ugliest. Its oval shell is four to six inches wide and the clams can weigh up to 20 pounds. When you pick them out of the water, Mark Kurlansky writes in The Food of a Younger Land, the "long phallic neck squirts water and then sadly falls flaccid."
Photographer Mike Kane recently went out with divers in the Suquamish tribe as they harvested bivalves from the ice cold waters of Washington's Puget Sound for the Chinese New Year. The Wall Street Journal reports that the clams are part of a $6-million seafood trade. In addition to being a delicacy traditionally served at the Lunar New Year, the clams are also an incredible business in the Northwest. A single clam can yield a hundred sashimi appetizers. At $1 an ounce, divers can make $5,000 a day, none of it subject to federal taxes.
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