Shellfish is a culinary term that is often used for several species of molluscs, gastropods, bivalves and arthropods. Some examples are the St. James shell, mussels, razor clams, oysters, cockles and whelks. Most shellfish live partly or fully buried into the seabed, mostly in sandy or gravelly bottoms. They feed by filtering nutrients out of the water. Seed and eggs are released into the water and fertilized externally. Most shellfish are hermaphroditic, they can be both male and female. There are many different shellfish species in the North Sea that are very much suitable for consumption. Fishing methods on shellfish include hand-picking, dredging or mechanic dredges (suckers).
The warty venus is often traded as ‘praire’ in France. It has an oval, bulk shell with very deep ridges. The shell can reach a diameter of 3-7 centimeters. This saltwater clam occurs on rocky bottoms along the European and southern African coasts. They can reach the age of 15 years, which is remarkeble for shellfish, and start spawning between 2 and 3 years. This shellfish is a true delicacy and can be often found in pasta vongole or fruit des mer.