White mussel

Donax serra

White (sand) mussel, Wedge shell surf clam, sand mussel, wit moesel

1. What is it?

White mussels or surf clam (Donax serra) are large, burrowing bivalves that inhabit exposed sandy beaches. They are fast growing animals making them fairly resilient to high fishing pressure. The stock status is unknown due to limited catch data from the commercial fishers and almost no catch data from the interim relief and recreational fishers.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

White mussels are harvested by hand or foot along the intertidal zone of sandy beaches. As this fishing method is highly selective, there is little to know bycatch and damage to the surrounding environment is considered minimal. It is possible that the harvesting of white mussels results in the short-term disturbance of the beach-dwelling African black oyster catcher (which is listed as Near Threatened on IUCN’s red list); however, the exact impact of this disturbance is unknown.

3. Where is it from?

White mussels are found along the coastline from Namibia to Eastern Cape with higher abundances along the West Coast. The commercial fishery is managed through Total Allowable Effort (TAE) limitation. Interim relief and recreational fishers are subject to a bag limit of 50 pp/pd. There is a minimum size limit of 35 mm that applies to all sectors. There are a number of challenges facing the fishery that includes poor compliance and data availability for the interim relief and recreational sectors. As a result management is considered to me marginally effective.


Fishing Type: Hand collection

Origin: 🇿🇦South Africa

Collecting seafood by hand is very selective, so incidental bycatch is usually low and limited to the organisms living on the animals' shells. People collecting at low tide may cause some damage to the sea bottom by walking and dragging baskets over it.