Great Shell Counting Day returns for a sixth edition this Saturday

Great Shell Counting Day returns for a sixth edition this Saturday
Credit: Belga

The Sixth edition of the Great Shell Counting Day (Grote Schelpenteldag) will be held on Saturday 25 March. It will once again stretch from Belgium to the Dutch coastline and, for the first time, it will include the north of France.

No less than 400 kilometres of coastline will be covered in an attempt to count the various species of molluscs present in the three areas.

During the first five editions of this marine census, thousands of participants collected some 200,000 shells representing about 60 species. The big counting day has become a must in Belgium, while the Netherlands is preparing to experience the event for the second year running by extending the observation area by eight beaches, from the Wadden Islands to Zeeland. Northern France is joining the adventure with a pilot project set up just across the French-Belgian border.

Last year, 750 people counted 38,000 shells in the ten Belgian municipalities along the coast. In the Netherlands, 22,000 molluscs were counted. Two-thirds of the species found were common to the two countries.

On Saturday the shellfish counters will be assisted by 80 shellfish experts. These will be present at various stands set up for the occasion, and will contribute their knowledge for identifications.

Thanks to this day, the Flemish Marine Institute (VLIZ), organiser of the event, hopes to have a better inventory of the species present on the coasts concerned.

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