No shortage of volunteers at this year's shell census

No shortage of volunteers at this year's shell census
Credit: Belga

About 800 people took part in the sixth edition of Great Shell Counting Day, held on Saturday in the Belgium’s 10 coastal municipalities. They counted some 38,000 shells, about the same number as last year.

The sixth edition of the event also involved the Netherlands and, for the first time, Northern France. “More than 400 kilometres of coastline were involved in the search for the different species of molluscs,” Jan Seys of the Flemish Marine Institute (VLIZ) said.

“Despite the strong wind and the somewhat changeable weather, Great Shell Counting Day attracted around 800 people to our beaches, where they counted around 38,000 shells,” Seys said. “In the Netherlands, almost 48,000 shells were counted while our French colleagues are still compiling their results.”

“Holes in shells were the focus of attention this year in order to determine how many predatory snails threaten our shellfish,” Jan Seys continued.

In addition to being a fun day for entire families, Great Shell Counting Day is also a way of gauging the biological diversity of the North Sea coast of the three participating countries.

In 2022, a species known locally as 'la petite nonne' ('the little nun') topped the counts on Belgian beaches, followed by the common cockle, mussel and razor clam .

The final results will be known this week.

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