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Fisheries > Culture Fisheries > Clams

Species

A number of clam species belonging to the families Arcidae, Veneridae, Corbiculidae, Tridacnidae, Solenidae, Mesodesmatidae, Tellinidae and Donacidae are exploited along the Indian coast. The cultivable species belongs to the first four of the above-mentioned families.

Arcid clams are called blood clams, represented by a single species, Anadara granosa. It occurs all along the Indian coast in soft muddy substratum. Venerid clams are most sought after in the clam fisheries of India and three genera namely Meretrix, Paphia and Katelysia are important. Along the Kerala coast P. malabarica forms a fishery in Koduvally, Azhikkal, Karyamgod and Chittari estuaries and Ashtamudi lake. Other Venerid clams form fisheries in several estuaries of Kerala state.

The black clam Villorita cyprinoides is a major resource in the Vembanad lake and is also exploited in several backwaters, lakes and estuaries of Kerala. The family Tridacnidae is represented in India by Tridacna maxima, T. crocea, T. squamosa and Hippopus hippopus. They are called as giant clams and occur in the Andamans.

anadara

Anadara granosa

katelysia

Katelysia spp.

 

villorita

Villorita cyprinoides

meretrix

Meretrix spp.

paphia

Paphia spp.

tridacna

Tridacna squamosa

Exploitation

Clams are fished by men, women and children all along the Indian coast. They are collected from the intertidal region to about 4 m depth. They are handpicked and also a hand-operated dredge is used. Plank-built non-powered boats are used for transport. Clams under one year age contribute in considerable numbers to the fishery. V. cyprinoides is the mainstay of the clam fisheries accounting for 64%, followed by the Venerid clams at 31%. West coast accounts for 85.7% of the estimated annual production of about 45,500 t of clams. Kerala ranks top with 72.5% of the production followed by Karnataka, which accounts for 12.5%.

canoe

Canoe with the clams

Seed collection

In clam culture, seed collected from the natural grounds and those produced in the hatcheries are used. The clam seed are collected from the natural beds one month after the onset of spawning by sieving the sediment.

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