Environmental impact of razor clam harvesting using salt in Ria Formosa lagoon (southern Portugal) and subsequent recovery of associated benthic communities

Rita Constantino, Miguel B. Gaspar, Fábio Pereira, Susana Carvalho, Joao Curdia, Domitília Matias, Carlos C. Monteiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


1. Razor clams are found in different habitats ranging from sheltered systems (e.g. lagoons and estuaries) to open coasts. They are distributed worldwide and comprise a small number of species of high economic value. Depending on the specific habitat and species exploited, different mechanical and hand-harvesting techniques are employed. While the environmental effects resulting from mechanized methods have been described by several authors, the impacts caused by traditional hand-harvesting methods remain unknown. Therefore, a study was undertaken in Ria Formosa lagoon (South of Portugal) addressing the environmental effects resulting from harvesting Solen marginatus with salt. 2. No significant impact on the sediment was found; the main effect was an increase in salinity after covering the area with salt, which decreased rapidly with the flood tide and after a few hours had returned to preharvesting levels. 3. No effects on benthic communities were observed, with similar fluctuation patterns recorded in control and experimental areas, the observed differences being attributed to the natural variability of benthic populations. 4. Based on the results obtained in the present study, a razor clam fishery using salt in intertidal areas can be considered environmentally 'friendly'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-553
Number of pages12
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Benthic communities
  • Harvesting impacts
  • Razor clams
  • Salt fishery
  • Solen marginatus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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