COA and Conservation
The Importance of Mollusks
COA members and the Conchologists of America strongly support informed management
and conservation policies for mollusks. Without the health and diversity of molluscan
populations all over this earth our planet would be much the poorer. There are many
ways in which mollusks add to our lives that we would sadly miss if our mollusks
were allowed to be destroyed by carelessness.
- They are an important fishing and packing industry; without them, a vast number
of jobs would disappear.
- They are a major part of our diet: Many third world nations depend upon all manner
of mollusks for daily sustenance. In American cuisine, mussels, calamari (octopus),
squid, coquina, conch for steaks and fritters are all considered epicurean delicacies,
while in Europe, cockles and winkles join that group. And in the western U.S., there
is the highly prized abalone! And just try to imagine clam chowder, Coquilles St.
Jacques or Oysters Rockefeller without clams, scallops or oysters!
- Pearls would be a thing of the past. Without oysters and fresh water mussels, where
would we get them? Even mother-of-pearl would vanish...it comes from the shells
of abalones, freshwater mussels and trochid shells.
- One of our best defenses against water pollution which could harm us would vanish...mollusks,
which are very sensitive to small amounts of pollution are today major and dependable
- Medicine would lose many of its pharmaceuticals and medical research test animals;
lost too, for all time, would be future discoveries about these animals.
- Manufacturing, like medicine, would lose a vast laboratory of new compounds and
materials, present and future.
- The food chain in the ocean would be greatly disrupted. Mollusks and their eggs
and young are a major source of food for most of the fish of the world.
- Even baiting your fish hook (if indeed fish remain after mollusks are gone) would
be a different proposition without squid!
The amateur conchologist, would lose a much-beloved hobby, both relaxing and intellectually
stimulating, because without mollusks, there would be no shell collecting, no shell
observation, no shell photography. Even art and architecture would lose one of their
prime sources of inspiration.
It is for these reasons that the Conchologists of America and its members believe
that informed measures must be taken to conserve and protect mollusks. Informed
measures are those that take into account the biology of mollusks, the threats to
their various habitats, their recuperative powers, and the actual agents of their