Alaska geoduck clam divers are stuck sitting on the beach until at least March 5.
A group of fishermen who determine whether to open the fishery — the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association’s Geoduck Committee — made the call to keep it closed Thursday.
Geoduck clams are two- to three-pound clams that live in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. They’re harvested live and sold largely to customers in China. But the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has shuttered restaurants and seafood markets on the other side of the Pacific.
Divers say they can usually get at least five to 10 dollars per pound for their catch. But the drop in demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak has pushed that figure down to about one dollar a pound.
So in late January, divers decided not to conduct tests that would allow the state to open the geoduck fishery. It’s remained closed ever since.
Divers voted Thursday to keep the geoduck fishery closed for at least another two weeks.
They’ll meet again March 5 to determine whether the geoduck market has recovered enough to go fishing.
This story was produced as part of a collaboration between KRBD and Alaska’s Energy Desk.