Harvest & Distribution
Our highly skilled divers work from vessels in the remote, pristine waters along the coast of British Columbia, and our distribution system ensures fresh geoduck goes to market within 1 - 2 days.
Divers work at depths of 10 to 20 metres, moving along the ocean floor looking for a geoduck show (the tip of a siphon or a dimple in the sand made by the tip of a siphon). When a diver finds a show, he uses a stinger (a nozzle with high-pressure water pumped down from the boat) to liquefy the sand around the clam.
The clam is then carefully pulled out and gently placed in a bag that is clipped to the diver’s waist. When the bag is full, the diver signals the crew to hoist the bag up to the deck of the vessel.
Once on-board, the geoducks are gently emptied from the bag onto a cushioned sorting table where the clams are banded to prevent the shell from gaping and help keep the clam alive.
They are then placed into cages with liners that separate each layer of product to avoid marking and prevent breakage during transport. The cages are labeled following strict guidelines and kept clean and cool, ready for validation and distribution.
When the vessel lands, the geoducks are validated by an independent dockside monitor who weighs the cages, and records the harvest details in a validation logbook. Refrigerated trucks then take the fresh, live clams to federally approved and registered shellfish buyers in Vancouver. Here they are off-loaded, validated again to ensure exact weight, graded, and carefully packaged in shipping containers to maintain top condition.
The shipping containers are primarily styrofoam boxes with moist food grade paper dividers and cool packs to ensure product quality and freshness. The clams are then air freighted live to markets overseas, usually the same day.
Contrary to what most people believe, the geoducks are not held in water during transport. As intertidal animals, geoducks can survive for a number of days out of the water, if kept cool and moist. When exposed or during transport, geoducks close their siphon to seal in moisture and wait for the tide to rise.
The Canadian industry has developed a dependable distribution system to rush live product to market within one to two days. For example, a geoduck harvested on Monday in the Strait of Georgia is packaged in Vancouver later that evening, and then loaded onto an international flight early on Tuesday morning.