NVWAThe seized carpet shells
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 18:20
The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has arrested five Zeelanders who illegally caught large quantities of carpet shells on the Veerse Meer. One of them traded the shells, known from the spaghetti vongole.
The NVWA recently received several anonymous reports about the catch of carpet shells on the lake. That is why an action was launched in the night from Sunday to Monday by the NVWA, supported by the police and the FIOD tax investigation service.
The services saw how a number of men fished up a large amount of clams. The catch was then loaded into a car and driven to a business premises. The suspects were arrested there.
Machines for processing the shells were found in the business premises, among other things. Images from the NVWA also show outboard engines and a jet ski. “We don’t think this is the first time they’ve done something like this,” says a spokesperson.
‘Mussel of the rich’
Carpet shells belong to the family of Venus shells. They are known in French as palourdes and in Italian they are called vongole. The clams are sold live and can often be found in pasta dishes and on seafood platters. That is why they are sometimes called ‘the mussel of the rich’.
The seized carpet shells are also live shellfish. “So we would like to put them back in the water, because that’s where they belong.”
The NVWA calls fish poaching (fishing without a permit) harmful to the environment, nature and people. Illegal fishing disrupts fish stocks and can damage wetlands, reducing the number of plants and animals in waters. There is also a risk to public health “because there is no form of control and the origin of poached fish and shellfish is not known”.
A criminal investigation into the extent of fish poaching, an economic crime, is underway. Pending the investigation, bank accounts, homes and cars of the suspects have been seized.