October 18, 2019 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Getting Clammy

by Akela Morinaka

With record-breaking high temps, the masses have wasted no time making their way to the beaches to cool off. Equipped with frisbees, beach chairs and caked on sunscreen, some settle into the sand while others head into the water. Dipping their feet into the whitewash, their faces are showered instantly with a salty mist. And feeling a tickle, almost a nibble, on their toes, they look down in surprise.

Not Sand Crabs, but Bean Clams are the culprit.

“Everyone is asking about these amazing clams,” said Nick Fash, Education Manager at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium and Heal the Bay. Fash explained the Bean Clams have massive population swings.  “Right now we are in a boom phase, where the last few years we saw none,” he said.

Clammy hands Photo by Akela Morinaka.

These little bivalves are scattered all along the coast, revealing themselves increasingly during the low tides. Venice lifeguards speculate that this phenomenon only occurs a few times a decade, and that, while it’s not common, it’s not something to be concerned over. Sand layers brushed away, and low tides combined make for an abundance of clams on the shore.

Beach-goers show fascination and a childlike curiosity toward the clams, and children themselves take a more hands-on approach and pick them up into their little palms to poke and ponder on.

These specific clams are smooth to the touch, with light brown to purplish tints. From a distance, the shore can be mistaken for being covered in pebbles, but a closer look and you can even see some of them move and inch back into the sand. They live close to the surface of the sand and are packed and cuddled tightly together. “The tuft you see sticking out of them is actually a separate animal known as a Hydroid (Clytia bakeri) and it uses the clam as a host,” said Fash.

A local surfer tells Yo! Venice, “I’ve never seen this many of them here before. It’s quite a sight. Some of them are only the size of a fingernail.”  With the pollution and recent oil spills in Southern California, he wouldn’t suggest eating them.

Fash said the clams were once so numerous they were canned commercially in Long Beach. “While I would not eat any of them off this beach, they are supposed to have a wonderful nutty flavor from the broth made by boiling them.”

Clams have remained a popular treat on the west coast, however. The most commonly eaten and used aren’t Bean Clams, but Pismo and hard clams, and places like Santa Monica Seafood and The Venice Whaler Bar and Grill serve these up on the daily – the larger ones best in clam chowders.

According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife, clams can be dug for around the hours of sunrise to sunset, but there are current limits to how many you’re allowed to keep. And like with grunion catching, if you’re over 16 you’ll need a fishing license.

So if given a chance these sweltering summer months, make your way down to the beach to see if they’re still around.

Clams hiding in the sand. Photo by Akela Morinaka.

 

Related Posts

Man Who Died on Venice Beach Last Week Identified

October 15, 2019

October 15, 2019

Cause of Timothy Hutson’s death still unknown By Sam Catanzaro Over the weekend investigators identified a man whose body was...

CURRENT:LA FOOD Comes to Venice Beach

October 14, 2019

October 14, 2019

“Mussel Beach” on display through November 3 By Kerry Slater With the premiere of CURRENT:LA FOOD approaching, the City of...

Rogue Machine’s Animal Instincts Pay Off As “MISS LILLY GETS BONED” Comes To Venice

September 30, 2019

September 30, 2019

Running through October 28, 2019 By Staff Writer Diversity in casting has always been a strong point of Rogue Machine’s...

Stay Cool During Heat Wave, Jazz in the Park: Yo! Venice TGIF Show August 2, 2019

August 9, 2019

August 9, 2019

Yo! Venice TGIF Show August 2, 2019• Women’s US National Team Victory Tour• Ways to Stay Cool • Free Jazz at...

Venice Family Clinic to Host Homeless Service Days

July 31, 2019

July 31, 2019

Nonprofit community health center offering food, medical care, dental screenings for those experiencing homelessness and families in need. By Staff...

Louis Vuitton X: An Immersive Journey Through Fashion History

July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019

180 items from archives and scenography trace Louis Vuitton’s pioneering journey By Staff Writer Louis Vuitton has unveiled Louis Vuitton X,...

Venice “Vanlord” Sparks Debate

July 16, 2019

July 16, 2019

By Keldine Hull As homeless numbers rise throughout Los Angeles, some in need of housing have turned to the so-called...

Venice Art Crawl and Mar Vista Music and Art Walk Combine to Produce The Get Around

July 10, 2019

July 10, 2019

Saturday, July 13, 2:00-10:00 p.m. By Staff Writer For the first time ever, The Venice Art Crawl and the Mar...

Rogue Machine Returns To Venice For A New Season of Live Entertainment

June 7, 2019

June 7, 2019

Rogue Machine is back on the Westside at the Electric Lodge, located in Venice just off of Abbot Kinney. Planning...

Get Your Glow On at the Venice Electric Light Parade

June 1, 2019

June 1, 2019

By Keldine Hull Get on your bikes and ride! The Venice Electric Light Parade, founded by Kansas City native Marcus...

Fire Station 63’s Annual Pancake Breakfast

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

Get your flapjack on May 25 a.m. to 1 p.m. By Keldine Hull Fire Station 63’s Annual Pancake Breakfast is...

Venice Art Walk Raises More than $1 Million

May 22, 2019

May 22, 2019

Star-studded guests attend Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auction    By Staff Writer Contemporary art, tech and entertainment industry...

Venice Art Walk and Auction Celebrates 40 Years

May 8, 2019

May 8, 2019

Sunday May 16 12-6 p.m. By Staff Writer On Sunday, May 19, Venice Family Clinic will commemorate the 40th edition...

Honoring Local Teachers at Venice WAVE Awards

May 6, 2019

May 6, 2019

May 9 from 6-8 p.m By Keldine Hull Venice teachers will be recognized for their achievements in education for the...

98-Unit Oxford Triangle Affordable Housing Project to Go Before LUPC Thursday

May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

By Sam Catanzaro The Venice Neighborhood Council’s (VNC) Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) will consider a 98-unit housing project...