Between 2006 and 2009, McHugh started noticing more buyers looking for smaller geoducks. It represents a shift in the industry from the 1970s and 1980s, when geoduck first took off as a party food for upper class people in China and Japan looking for huge “jumbo” clams to display at social gatherings. With more geoducks than ever being shipped from Washington's shores, officials are keeping a close eye on contaminants. One concern is Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), or “Red Tide” as it's more commonly known. Geoducks, like all filter feeders, can ingest the neurotoxin. In high doses, it can cause paralysis in humans. A year ago, China lifted what had been a five-month ban on live shellfish imports after reportedly finding high levels of contaminants, including arsenic and PSP in shellfish harvested in the Pacific Northwest.