Slipper limpet

Crepidula fornicata

Slipper Limpet

Image | by Sarah McCartney, Copyright Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Description

Slipper limpets are abundant shellfish that are caught by oyster fishermen in the Fal estuary. Slipperlimpets have a yellow disc of meat approx one inch across which is high in protein and can be eaten raw or lighly cooked. It is increasingly popular in France where it is commercially being harvested in the bay of Mont St Michel, Brittany. Commercial fisheries have not yet been established in Cornwall but small quantities are occasionally landed. 


Sustainability Overview

Slipper limpets are under utilized and abundant on the Fal oyster beds. They are a non-native species that arrived in the UK from in the late 1800's with imports of american oysters. it rapidly spread and is now considered an invasive species and a pest on oyster beds. They are thought to compete with oysters for space and food and produce abundant slimy pseudo faeces which may harm native oysters and their spat. This species is currently not used for human consumption but it is edible and has featured on the menu of Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant. It can easily be harvested by oyster fishermen in large quantities but currently there is insufficient demand so this resource is not being utilized.

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When is best to eat?

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Fal estuary

Sustainably harvested using lightweight dredges that are towed by traditional sail boats and rowing boats.

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How we rate fish

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Cornwall Good Seafood Guide rates fish on sustainability using a scale of 1 to 5.

1, 2 and 3 are recommended, Fish to avoid are rated 5.

We use the system devised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so our scores are comparable with the scores produced by MCS for the UK and fisheries from all around the world. For more information on scoring click here.

Sustainability Overview

Slipper limpets are under utilized and abundant on the Fal oyster beds. They are a non-native species that arrived in the UK from in the late 1800's with imports of american oysters. it rapidly spread and is now considered an invasive species and a pest on oyster beds. They are thought to compete with oysters for space and food and produce abundant slimy pseudo faeces which may harm native oysters and their spat. This species is currently not used for human consumption but it is edible and has featured on the menu of Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant. It can easily be harvested by oyster fishermen in large quantities but currently there is insufficient demand so this resource is not being utilized.

Slipper Limpet

Biology

Slipper limpets are a snail like mollusc that lives attached to shells and rocks on the sea bed in shallow estuaries and bays. They have a domed shell, oval or kidney shaped which is up to 5cm long with an internal flat shelf. They often aggregate into chains or leaning stacks of up to 12 individual animals. Slipper limpet meat can be easily be removed from the shell by freezing and defrosting and then manual removal or mechanical removal through shaking (Dave Smethurst honours project Newquay Centre for Applied Zoology). The shells of slipper limpets are additionally a useable source of calcium carbonate, and have massive potential in soil conditioning on acid soils and use as an ingredient in concrete and other building materials. 

Stock Info

There are estimated to be far more slipper limpets than oysters on the Fal oyster beds and they are also common in the Percuil and Helford estuaries.

Management

There is no managment for this species at present. No commercial fishery exists yet.

Capture Info

Slipper limpets can easily be collected by oyster dregers but until there is a market for this species they are being discarded (alive) back to the oyster beds.

References

Slipper limpet management and utilization in the fal Andy Fitzgerald

La Crepidule - French website marketing Breton Slipper limpets

Distribution of Slipper Limpet (Crepidula fornicata) around the South Devon Coast. Sarah Clark, Marine Environmental/Fisheries Officer
Devon Sea Fisheries Committee Report. April 2008

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