, Volume 13, Issue 1-2, pp 57-66

Clam farming quality as a management tool: A proposal based on recent studies in Northern Adriatic lagoons

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Abstract

The rapid and extensive spread of the clam Tapes philippinarum in Northern Adriatic lagoons, mostly in the lagoon of Venice (550 kmq), has led to severe exploitation by mainly free fishing, thus breaching the law. To contrast this unsustainable overexploitation, to which the present decreasing clam harvests are at least partly due, the local fishing authority has recently prepared a Master Fishing Plan for clam production, which is at present under way: the free fishing system must be replaced by a licencing system aimed at regulating market supply and mainly at converting more than 1000 fishermen into clam farmers. Moreover, a number of regulations for both vessels and harvesting techniques and management rules, such as daily clam harvests and fishing times, have been established. Although these newly introduced regulations may be regarded as valuable tools for preserving both the lagoon environment and the resource itself, they do not adequately consider protection for consumers. Although the licensed water areas have been evaluated as safe according to Italian law, at present no guarantees certify the quality of the clams harvested from them, due to the fact that the lagoon of Venice has polluted areas from which clams may be collected illegally and recycled to the legal market simply by putting them into the approved licensed areas before harvesting and marketing them. This paper therefore proposes a number of measures to be undertaken within the framework of good farming practices. The aim is to improve product quality by certification procedures in all production phases, and to guarantee the definite origin of farmed clams.