Gooseneck Barnacles – Maybe Coming to Your Local Menu

Barnacles in a tide pool on the coast of California. Click on image to read the article in Hakai Magazine.

DESPITE A REPUTATION AS TASTY CRUSTACEANS, GOOSENECK BARNACLES have not exactly been a staple of seafood menus in the United States.  But new project in the Pacific Northwest may bring them to your local dining establishment.

With a mild, salty-sweet, nutty flavor, they’re already considered a delicacy in parts of Europe. And gooseneck barnacles have long been part of the diet of the First Nations on the Canadian Pacific coast, according to “Budding Barnacle Bonanza,” in Hakai Magazine.

But gooseneck barnacles are hard to harvest. They only grow in the wild, attached to slippery underwater rock formations served by strong currents. Opportunities to pry them off their rocky homes are limited to times when the tides are right. Due to overfishing, their stock has been declining and their value has been jumping.


Now, a University of Oregon scientist is working see if they can be raised in captivity. It’s never been tried before because it was believed the powerful currents they thrive in were essential to their growth.

Marine biologist Alan Shanks noticed a cluster of the little crustaceans in a tank at the University aquarium – near the tank’s air bubbler. Subsequently, he proved he could grow them in  his lab.

In the future, perhaps, you’ll find them on the menu at your favorite seafood restaurant. Try them. You might like them!

PRINCIPAL SOURCE:  Budding Barnacle Bonanza, Hakai Magazine