OLYMPIA, Wash. – Each year the Washington Department of Natural Resources auctions off permission to harvest geoduck (those long, rubber-necked shellfish) from certain areas throughout Puget Sound. The company with the highest bid earns the right to harvest a specific amount of geoduck at a set location during a defined time period.
The bidding process at a geoduck auction is sealed. Companies place a check with their bid amount in an envelope. The auctioneer reads out the bids. Winning bids can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars just to reserve the right to harvest geoduck. On top of that, bidders will pay extra per geoduck harvested.
The state generates about $15 million to $20 million annually from shellfish auctions, which helps fund protection of the state’s natural resources.