Of all the shellfish that sell on the black market, one clam is above the rest -- the geoduck.

Pronounced gooey-duck, these hefty clams bury themselves in sand where they stay for 100 years, doing little more than stretching their meter-long, fleshy siphon up to feed on phytoplankton.

Humans are their only natural predators. In shallows when tides have retreated, people dig up geoduck clams with shovels. In deeper areas, scuba divers spray high-pressure hoses into the sea floor to unearth them.

Wholesale geoduck prices at Puget Sound docks have more than doubled from $4 per pound in 2006 to as much as $15 per pound today. With the average adult geoduck weighing one to three pounds, a good geoduck diver can harvest thousands of dollars’ worth in a few hours.

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