Latin names: Pipi (Donax deltoides), Vongole (Katelysia scalarina, K. rhytiphora and K. Peronei )
Common Names: Goolwa pipis, Goolwa cockles, eugarie, beach pipi
Wild Caught - Australia
- SA Lakes and Coorong Fishery, Marine Scalefish Fishery and South Australian Commercial Mud Cockle Fishery (539t of Pipis and 31t of Vongole in 2017)
- NSW Estuary General Fishery (176t of Pipis in 2017)
Pips and vongoles fisheries hand collect or rake up these molluscs from the intertidal zone. Three species of vongole are collected, all of which are unique to Australia, as are pipis. Pipis grow fairly quickly and are resilient to fishing. Vongole species grow more slowly and can live to 29 years old, which means they can be more affected by excessive fishing pressure and take longer to recover.
Overfishing of pipis in NSW and vongoles in SA in the late 2000’s led to stricter harvest controls and allowed some populations to rebuild to healthy levels. One zone remains closed to fishing in SA as the population of vongoles has not recovered. The health of the pipi and vongole populations is well monitored in SA, and the amount of fishing that takes place is capped and regulated to protect pipi numbers. In NSW, pipi numbers are monitored annually to prevent overfishing.
Hand collecting and raking collection methods are effective at targeting only pipis and vongoles, resulting in a negligible extraction impact on any other marine or beach-dwelling species. As collection is so highly targeted, discarding of unwanted catch is not an issue, and undersized pips and vongoles can be returned without harm.
Pipis and vongoles are important prey for many birds, fish and rays; scientific studies show the level of current fishing is not affecting the availability of prey for birds. It is unclear if historical overfishing in current fishery closure areas has had any negative impact on other animals in these areas.
NOTE: The Tasmanian fishery for vongole in Ansons Bay is currently closed following a collapse of the population due to overfishing and environmental factors (severe flooding in 2014 killed many vongole). A 2018 review of vongole numbers showed the population has not yet recovered. If the fishery re-opens, the fishery will be assessed for inclusion in this Guide.