On my mind
WHEN I was young I loved shellfish as much as Molly Malone until that fateful moment my metabolism decided to metamorphose and abort any meaningful contact with a cockle or mussel.
In an attempt to explain that unfortunate occasion when the ground shook, I was told ‘long time no sea.’
Now, in a sleepy little Brit-free Spanish town, where thankfully no sightings have ever been made of communal gatherings of the stag or hen, I look longingly at the local catch cooked to perfection and eaten to oblivion.
The local menus recount the aquatic battles with the white mullet, sea bass, gilthead bream, sole and carp while the mussel and oyster beds of the Ebro delta offer an explosive briny gastronomic experience.
The lagoons, surrounded by rice fields, are home to a variety of wild life including ducks, coots, cormorants, flamingos, herons and terns. Unsurprisingly, they attract tourists in large numbers.
Yet we too can compete and boast of the Burry inlet, with its mudflats, salt marshes, streams and lagoons which provide a haven for an abundance of animal and plant life, birds and fish.
Yet the current situation regarding the mussel and cockle beds in the Loughor estuary is nothing short of a national disgrace.
Reports are confusing and unhelpful to such an extent that there is no consensus about whether the problem is sewage pollution, chemical spillage, parasites or overcrowding, or something else.
One thing is clear – there is no progress at the moment in dealing with an issue that raised its ugly head in 2005 and continues to the present day.
What is a potentially huge local economic and tourist attraction is being allowed to sink into a mire of obfuscation.
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