Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pret a manger shellfish.

Following on from my previous postings regarding shellfish and the Margate sea defence works. I have set about to put a few facts together and this morning's North Westerly wind full on to the Northern Coastline of Thanet certainly put me in the right frame of mind as I walked Margate Beach to think things out.
As mentioned in the previous posting the Pacific Oyster which is an invasive species to our coast can now be found in abundance
and I reckon there must be at least 250,000 on the rocks and in the bays from Minnis Bay to the Walpole Bay tidal pool at Cliftonville. On top of this I have found on the web that a Oyster sold wholesale is worth 40 pence therefore as it stands at present there is a substantial amount of money lying on the rocks between Birchington and Clftonville. As I walked around the tidal pool at Margate I even found a dozen that have come in on the tide in a Pret a Manger condition as in the photograph. Like all Oysters I found beached, I always put them in either the Margate or Walpole Bay tidal pool's something I have done ever since they first appeared on the shoreline 20 years ago.
Many years ago I used to do exactly the same with cockles and when the tidal pools were drained in the spring and autumn the cockles could be retrieved in bulk providing a nice little harvest. With this abundance of the Pacific Oyster perhaps the same could work with Oysters and I have hit on the idea that perhaps annually stocking the Walpole Bay tidal pool with 5,000 small Oysters from along the coast elsewhere . They could be harvested at a later date when the tidal pool is drained annually in the spring and autumn, this could then be a managed harvest and if so think of the dividend. In turn this could be answer to the free for all that is going on at present or even a commercial enterprise.
However, it is not really the Oyster that there is a real concern, it is the harvesting of Limpets. On our coastline we have two types the common Limpet and the Slipper Limpet. In Chinese cooking the common Limpet is a delicacy and looking on the internet it works out that a 15 oz tin is worth $16.99, there is also an Irish company that sells them wholesale. It appears the rubbery bit that adheres to the rock under the conical shell is the part eaten. The Slipper Limpet which is more common in Minnis Bay can also be eaten. Like the Pacific Oyster the Slipper Limpet is an invasive species from America and has been with us since the 1840's. The Slipper Limpet causes havoc in Mussel beds and is partialy to blame for the decline of Mussels in Minnis Bay.

Meanwhile back at Margate the construction of the home made sea defences has begun and I must admit it does look impressive. As usual there is no shortage of sand and looking over towards where the permanent sea defences are to be constructed the sand seems to have banked up in the past few weeks, which has set me back a bit in my search of items over a 100 years old from that area. However, I did manage this morning to find a few bits of clay pipe further along the beach to add to my collection.

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