Māori Name: Tuangi
Plump, round shells with fine ridges that run in two directions, Usually purple on the inside. Cockles have a delicate cream flesh with a low oil content. The meat is small in proportion to shell weight.
New Zealand operates a mandatory shellfish quality assurance programme for all bivalve shellfish grown and harvested in areas for human consumption - shellfish caught outside this programme can only be sold for bait. The programme, managed by the NZ Food & Safety Authority in cooperation with the District Health Board Public Health Units and the shellfish industry, involves surveying water catchment area for pollution, sampling water and shellfish microbiologically over at least 12 months and biotoxin testing, among other measures.
There are eight species of surf clams in the QMS: ringed dosinia, silky dosinia, frilled venus shells, triangle shells, trough and large trough shells and two types of tutatua. The catch limits for surf clams off the south western coast of the North Island were substantially increased from 1 April 2013 following a biomass survey which established that there were substantial quantities of surf clams available off the Manawatu coast.
Clams are a delicacy, favoured for their texture and flavour. Put them into a soup/chowder, steam, fry, bake or barbeque them.
Clams are available live and chilled, frozen or vacuum packed. Live clams should be stored in an open container with a damp cloth over them, in the fridge, and served within 48 hours of purchase.