Every time we go to the sea to dive with scuba, freedive apnea, snorkel or simply swim we always discover something new and different. In this video we found some Dates shell, Date mussels, Lithophaga lithophaga, or at least the shells of this rare and highly sought after mollusk! Octopus Dateshell Lithophaga lithophaga Polpo Dattero di mare www.intotheblue.it
We became curious when we saw the valves completely shiny and stripped of pulp at the bottom of a vertical rock face, i.e. without the mollusc or our sea date shell.
Sea Date shell, Lithophaga lithophaga, grows and lives inside the rocks, so it is practically impossible to see and film it unless the rock where it is found is shattered, an obviously illegal practice, prohibited by the regulations of all Mediterranean countries. Consequently, fishing is also prohibited and those who practice it are finally punished with severe and heavy sanctions, unless it is our usual friend the Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris, who does it.
Obviously the Octopus was our first thought, and after a few dives we practically “caught it in the act”, our Octopus in fact emerged from a very small crack in the rock with one of the two valves practically attached to the tentacles. The video definition of our Gopros allowed us to slow down the film and capture some photos/frames that unequivocally “incriminate” our friend.
You can see the rest from the video, in the end we only managed to film the empty dates since the Octopus had practically eaten all the molluscs, moreover mocking us with the usual splash of ink and escaping into a new, practically inaccessible hole.
Date mussel or Date shell (Lithophaga lithophaga) is a bivalve mollusc of the Mytilidae family.
It settles inside limestone rocks or larger shells, corroding them through acidic secretions that it secretes from special glands. Its growth is extremely slow, and it takes 15 to 35 years to reach a length of 5 cm.
Its consumption, possession, trade and fishing are prohibited in all states of the European Union pursuant to art. 8 of Regulation (EC) 1967/2006. In Italy, the Ministerial Decree of 16 October 1998 already prohibited all these activities: “… considering that the scientific institutes responsible for carrying out studies on the subject have highlighted that fishing activities for L. lithophaga and Pholas dactylus (white date) cause alterations to the seabed rocky with destruction of biocoenoses;… Decrees:
The ban on the collection of lithophagous molluscs with the use of jackhammers or other percussion tools, established by EC regulation 1626/94 of 27 June 1994, is extended to all Italian coasts with the ban on fishing for date sea and white dates with any tool.
The ban on the possession and trade of sea dates and white dates referred to in the Ministerial Decree of 26 September 1996 is extended to 30/9/2007, as their fishing seriously damages the limestone coasts, including those of the Sorrento peninsula. and the Gulf of La Spezia.”
However, in some cases poaching continues to be practiced. To satisfy the demand for this product from those who appreciate it from a gastronomic point of view, various breeding projects are being attempted, in which the dates will be planted in special concrete blocks, the destruction of which at the time of harvesting cannot will cause any ecological or landscape damage.