KARACHI: Millions of seashells, which recently washed up on the Clifton beach, heralded the monsoon, said experts on Friday.
“High wave action triggered by the onset of monsoon dislodges shellfish from their sub-tidal habitat and it lands on the beach in the shape of dead shells as the fish couldn’t survive long drifting on the sand or mudflats,” said Mohammad Moazzam Khan, who is associated with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan as its technical adviser on marine resources.
The shells have been identified as those of Venus clam, an important shellfish. Blood clam had beached at Clifton over the past three years, he added.
The beaching of the shells on the Clifton beach and other sandy beaches of the country was not an unusual phenomenon, he said.
According to him, Venus clam is a commercially important shellfish, which was originally described as Venus cor by G. B. Sowerby II in 1853.
“This shell is found in muddy and muddy-cum-sandy shore and harvested manually or using rake in shallow sub-tidal waters mainly along the creek system and mud flats of the Indus creek area.
“The shellfish is boiled, its meat extracted in the processing facilities, most located in the Ibrahim Hyderi area, before it is exported in frozen form mainly to Thailand and Malaysia,” he explained.
This species is locally known as “burgar” and fetches comparatively higher prices than other clam species found along the coast. It is commercially harvested in Bhambhore, Darya Pir, Katiyar and Chann Creek.
Seconding his observations, director of the National Institute of Oceanography Dr Asif Inam said scientific studies had been conducted on this phenomenon along Pakistan coast, which he described as ‘normal’.
“It’s only an intense wave action due to the arrival of monsoon. The phenomenon has no links with hot weather conditions or pollution as being reported by some TV channels,” he said, adding that empty shells were often used for decoration.