The Ariake Sea is one of Japan’s largest tide-lands, located in Kyushu. It once was common to find a unique clam living here – the agemaki (Chinese razor clam). That was until 30-years ago, where huge numbers mysteriously died – wiping out the clam from the area. That was until now – for the first time in 22-years, the Chinese razor clam has been caught by fisherman of the area.
Queues out the door for razor clams?
As expected, the clams hitting the shelves for the first time in over 2 decades, the queues to buy the clam were over a 100 people long!
I often ate them as a child. It’s really nostalgic (queing customer).
In Japanese, the name is taken from it’s long, thin shape that used to resemble the haircut of boys in ancient times. So ancient in the history of the razor clam, that there is evidence they were eaten up to 8000 years ago in Japan.
Despite such a long history, fishermen went from catching 100-700 tons per year – to almost none. The reason behind why such an incredible number of clams suddenly died is still unknown.
Actions are now being taken to make sure these clams stay for good. combined with new technology that allows for mass-farming. Could the Chinese razor clam be a new regular on the Japanese dinner table?
22-years later, razor clam fishing reopened
After over 2 decades, razor clam fishing started again this month. With over 60kg of clams caught be the fishermen pictured, it’s thought that more and more will set their eyes back on the razor clam.
But it’s not all clear sailing for fishermen yet. The sudden return of the clams does not mean fisherman are allowed to freely fish. Nor that the clams will stick around and repopulate. In addition, from next month, the area will be a no-fishing zone.