MAN and SHELLS: Molluscs in the History

Threatened Species

Author(s): Riccardo Cattaneo-Vietti, Mauro Doneddu and Egidio Trainito

Pp: 273-285 (13)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681082257116010018

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Due to the heavy impact of the human activities, a generalized habitat depletion, with loss in terms of biodiversity, biomass, and structural complexity, has been recorded everywhere in rivers, coastal waters, estuaries and lagoons. Molluscs have suffered and are suffering of this pressure and in the more polluted environments only the more "robust" species are able to adapt to these conditions, but the loss of biodiversity both at sea and land has been very serious.

The exploitation of limpets, mussels, oysters or other marine bivalves, living in the coastal zone, has been significant in the last two centuries, and trawling gears, like dredges and bottom nets, caused serious structural changes in all exploited benthic communities, putting in jeopardy the existence of various habitats and many species.

Today, many molluscs of commercial interest at risk of extinction are reported in CITES appendices, the UN organisation which controls and regulates trade of wild fauna and flora, trying to prevent the exploitation of endangered species. However, controls are often lack-ing and very often many molluscs are still harvested indiscriminately. Other species, not yet taken into account, must be protected as soon as possible: in the fight against the loss of bi-odiversity, it is necessary to take actions that they will not only protect a particular species, but the whole environment where the species lives. It is also urgent the protection of the fossil deposits which are full of shells, often of great collection interest.

The establishment of parks and protected areas, and an international legislature that manag-es the marketing, seem today more necessary than ever for the protection of the living and fossil molluscs.

Keywords: Bolma, CITES, climatic changes, Concholepas, date-mussel, fossil shells, Gibbula nivosa, Lithophaga lithophaga, molluscs, Morum, mullu, Papusty-la pulcherrima, pollution, Strombus gigas, threatened species, trawling, Trochus, Turbo.

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