Geoduck Farming on Puget Sound
In looking around Puget Sound for waterfront vacation properties with a client (we ultimately found a good deal on a fixer, estate sale in Port Orchard), I learned about the earning potential of creating a small scale geoduck farm and using the proceeds to completely pay off your waterfront property. Geoduck prices are soaring currently - driven by demand from China.
Read about the market potential:
A listing agent explained to me the revenue potential from her client's property. The tidelands property owner leased out 1/2 an acre to a shellfish harvesting company. The shellfish company did the planting and pays $500 per year in rent on the 1/2 acre. It takes 6 years for the geoducks to grow to harvestable size. Six years ago the company paid $37,500 to the owners for a harvest. Right now (summer 2012) they are told they could get $75,000 for the current crop, but they are waiting until next year when they hope to get 6 figures. Geoduck prices are rising currently.
Imagine if you were to plant an acre per year up to 6 acres, and then enjoy a regular annual harvest income.
Some people don't like the spread of geoduck farming over concerns about:
- The unsightly spread of PVC tubes over tidelands. Although, the tubes are removed after the first year.
- Concerns about mono-culture - the lack of bio-diversity on the affected beaches.
There has been a moratorium on new geoduck farming permits since 2007, but new research has become available and new permits are being considered:
Fun Geoduck Facts
- The are the world's largest, burrowing clam, growing up to 7 pounds (typical) on up to 20 pounds (record)
- Geoducks range from Baja California to Alaska
- Females produce up to 50 million eggs per year
- Geoducks can live up to 160 years
- Non-human predators: crabs, shrimp, sea stars, snails, fish, and sea otters
- The word "geoduck" comes from "gweduc" in the Nisqually language, meaning "dig deep"
Advantages of Geoducks over Other Types of Farming
- No need to milk the geoducks
- Geoducks do not wake you up in the morning with loud calls
- No need to feed the geoducks
- No need to herd the geoducks long distances
- No need to break in young geobucks
Disadvantage of Geoduck Farming
There has been a rise in illegal, nighttime harvesting. It would be rather difficult to protect your tidelands from thieves.
Shellfish Properties For Sale
I visited this property below and spoke with the owner. He thinks the property includes 5 acres of tidelands, which are currently left wild. Whenever he wants an extra $100 bucks, he'll go out and fill up a bucket and a half with oysters and clams and sell it to a shellfish distributor. He thinks the property has commercial potential.