Update 9/1/2013: China’s crackdown on corruption ... has forced a decline in lavish banquets.- In another indication of the risks tideland owners take on when leasing tidelands to geoduck farmers PhysOrg has reported that China's crackdown on corruption continues to decrease lavish banquets. While the focus of the article is on shark fins sold in China, geoduck are included in that category. It is only the hyper-elite in China who are able to afford the geoduck. That price is not sustainable, especially as the younger and more educated population come to realize the size of a geocuck neck has nothing to do with male virility.
"...sales of shark fins had dropped more than 70 percent,
All bubbles will pop.
Driven by nothing more than a superstitious belief in a geoduck's ability to endow its consumer with virility, prices in China have sky rocketed. Affordable by only the elite upper class of China it is only a matter of time before this bubble, like all unsustainable bubbles in the past, will pop. China's new president, Xi Jinping, is holding a big pin next to the geoduck bubble.
President Xi Jinping will be the president of China for the next decade and has made a point of curbing the wild spending of the past and displays of gluttony so prevalent by the elite in China, under the catch phrase of "4 dishes and a soup." As reported on page 46 of the February 9, 2013 issue of The Economist, "China's online public is ever more furious about a parade of corrupt officials, whose stories are far more compelling than any statistics." To help quell the public's anger and to show action is being taken, Chinese authorities are now "descending on restaurants in search of large tabs".
...followed by results.
Radical drops in the symbols of gastronomic excess are currently being experienced. As reported in today's New York Times, shark fin sales have dropped 70% and edible swallow nests were down 40%. More to the point, "So far, most victims of the frugality drive have been purveyors of the good life: high-end caterers, abalone wholesalers, five star hotels and makers of Yellow Pavilion cigarettes, the $300-carton brand coveted by the up-and-coming bureaucrats." [click here for article] Not mentioned specifically but included are geoducks.
"Everything about geoduck is driven by China," said Mark Schaffel, who raises farmed geoducks for Olympia's Northwest Shellfish Company. (Seattle Times, April 21, 2012)
Geoduck in Washington used to be nothing more than a side ingredient used in clam chowder. Today they are an overpriced food item, selling for over $27/pound in Seattle, only because of China's "irrational exuberance." That exuberance is coming to an end, and with it, the support of the unsustainable price rise seen over the last five years. With it, the profits supporting geoduck farms throughout Puget Sound will come to an end.
Agencies need to act on the probability of a market collapse.
Agencies acting on permit applications cannot allow themselves to be blinded by the "irrational exuberance" seen in the current geoduck market. When prices fall, and they will, it will no longer be profitable for growers to maintain or harvest their farms. When that happens who will be responsible for restoring Puget Sound's tidelands? Washington taxpayers are already supporting the shellfish industry through state funded hatchery research and state funding of water quality testing. Minimal tax receipts are received and jobs created are jobs not wanted by the unemployed, filled instead through migrant worker programs. Will Washington taxpayers also be responsible for cleaning up the aftermath of a collapsed geoduck market?