Amusing Monday: Geoducks are serious business

I love the reaction of newcomers to the Northwest when they see a giant geoduck clam for the first time.

Some people laugh; others stare in disbelief at the unique creature that reminds some people of the male anatomy.

After you’ve lived in Washington state, you learn that this massive mollusk is not only funny, it is big money on the international market. Geoducks are believed to play an important role in the ecosystem, where they filter water and can live for 100 years or more.

Geoducks grow naturally in deep water and are harvested by divers who dislodge them from the seabed with jets of water. Revenues go for managing the resource and to local governments willing to make recreational improvements to the shoreline. Some people contend that the state is over-harvesting, at least in certain locations.

Geoducks are also at the center of political battles involving the management of state and private tidelands. Artificial propagation of geoducks and its effects on beaches is still hotly debated.

But I digress. Amusing Monday isn’t about the serious side of life, so I’d like to offer a couple of videos for your viewing. The first, an embedded video on this page, is a three-minute trailer for a documentary produced by Justin Bookey. The film, called “3 Feet Under,” won a first-place award for the Best Short Documentary at the Port Townsend Film Festival in 2004.

The second video is a featured segment of the Discovery Channel’s TV show “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe. Beyond the jokes, I learned something about cooking the giant clams in a part of the show where Rowe heads into the kitchen to prepare the “duck” for eating.

So let me know what you think about geoducks, especially if you are one of the brave hunters who like to dig for geoducks, famous for their deep digging. If you have a geoduck joke suitable for mixed company, feel free to share.

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