Greenland cockle

Serripes groenlandicus

Several large bivalve species in Icelandic waters could be harvested if found in sufficient quantities. That applies to the Greenland cockle.

It lives for the most part buried in soft bottom sediments in shallow seas to a depth of about 100 meters. It is often found with ocean quahogs and they grow to similar sizes. The Greenland cockle grow much faster and can be recognized from the ocean quahog because the shells are thinner and not as strongly attached to each other. However, the Greenland cockle has a rather robust and thick shell compared to most other species.

Young Greenland cockles are brownish-spotted and beautifully smooth and glossy, but they become more rugged with age.

The Greenland cockle is in fact an American cold-water species, found from Cape Cod to Greenland and Iceland, the only place it is found in Europe. It is also found in the North Pacific.

The Greenland cockle are good for eating, similar species are harvested in many parts of the world along the seashore during high tide. They are raked from the bottom and collected in bags. The Greenland cockle is not uncommon around Iceland, but it is uncertain whether the quantity is sufficient to make it worthwhile to harvest it.


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