Export Markets Cool for Washington’s Giant Clam, The Geoduck

ELD INLET, THURSTON COUNTY — Some 40 feet down, diver Walter Lorentz Jr. groped along the bottom of Puget Sound, searching in the weak undersea light for small dimples that mark the site of a buried geoduck. He wielded a “stinger” — a high-pressure water wand — to help pry these giant clams loose from the sand and cobble where they may have resided for decades.

This is a tough way to make a living, and on this gray fall morning it was tougher still due to a small hole in his dry suit that let in a steady stream of chilly water.

“When you’re in this business, you basically work with what you got, and make it all happen,” said Lorentz, who harvested some 400 pounds of geoducks in about three hours.

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