On January 9, 2020, a mussel farmer fished up a large snail of 16 centimeters from a mussel plot at Zandkreek in the Oosterschelde. The attentive farmer has reported his catch to Jeroen Wijsman, marine ecologist at Wageningen Marine Research.
Veined rapana whelk
Wijsman subsequently determined it as an adult specimen of the Veined rapana whelk (Rapana venosa). This predatory snail is an non-indigenous invasive species (NIS) that feeds on shellfish. This is the first observation of the Rapana venosa in the Oosterschelde.
Possible threat to oyster and mussel industry
This species is regarded worldwide as a dangerous invasive species. If the species manages to settle in the Oosterschelde, this may in time pose a threat to the oyster and mussel industry in the area. There are currently no indications for this. The Producers’ Organization of the Dutch mussel culture, the Dutch Oyster Association and Wageningen Marine Research have made agreements about monitoring future catches of the Veined rapana whelk.