The warm muddy shores around Malaya's west coast, especially off Perak and Penang, form the perfect nurseries for the tasty morsel, the cockle.
The warm muddy shores around Malaya's west coast, especially off Perak and Penang, form the perfect nurseries for the tasty morsel, the cockle. In the spawning season, between October and January whole families set out in sampans at low tide to scoop the baby cockles from the surface mud. There are too many to grow to a good size, so an industry has developed to gather the seed and sow them in culture beds where there is more room for growth.
Themseed is scattered like grain over the soft mud flats.... and after casting the see upon the waters there is little to do except perhaps some thinning out but wait, for a year or so until the cockles have grown fat and can be harvested.
Harvesting at the culture beds is done by a variety of picturesque methods, according to the depth of the water. A scoop on a long pole where the water is deeper....... By mud skis in very shallow water. You kneel on a plank and push it along with the other knee, scooping as you go......And a hand-scoop for a depth you can stand in.
Now the cockles are anything from six to ten times bigger, and must be got to market while they are fresh on the shell. Encouraged by the Fisheries Department, cockle culture is a growing industry, producing about two million dollar worth of cockles every year, It's organised by co-operative societies, or by individual fishermen and there are a few big cultivators who can make as much as from $60,0000 to $100,000 a year from this industry.
A tasty dish, enjoyed by all....rich in protein, and a source of extra revenue for many a fisherman.