St. Lawrence species

Greenland cockle

Serripes groenlandicus

Type of resource

  • Seafood
  • Seafood - molluscs

Status of the resource

  • Not determined

In season

Fresh all year round.

SIZE : Up to 11 cm.

LIFE EXPECTANCY : Up to 48 years.

LIFE CYCLE : Sexual maturity approximately 2 to 3 years for males, and 3 to 4 years for females.

Greenland cockles are hermaphrodites; in other words, they have both male and female parts. Sperm and eggs are expelled, and fertilization takes place in the water column. The embryos develop into free-swimming larvae, before metamorphosing into the juvenile form and settling on the bottom.

The Greenland cockle has a thin, round shell with fine radial ribs. Viewed from the side, it is shaped like a heart. The two shell valves are almost identical in size and shape. Its color is creamy white, with shades of olive and reddish-brown, and its interior is off-white.

Coastal zone, up to 100 m deep.

The Greenland cockle buries itself in soft bottoms of sand or mud.

Credit : Nadezhda Samoylova, photo taken at the white sea, in 2020.





Cod and other bottom fish



MACHINES : Hydraulic dredge.

Offshore clam diggers (Stimpson’s surf clams and northern quahog) can harvest Greenland cockles as an unrestricted incidental catch. There is no directed fishing for Greenland cockles.

Recreational harvesting, yes, but under certain conditions.

Greenland cockles can be hand-harvested recreationally. However, these shellfish can be toxic. Be sure to find out about harvesting conditions and whether your area is open. This information can be found on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

BENEFITS Bivalve molluscs are excellent sources of vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, choline, iron, selenium, and zinc. They are low in fat and carbohydrates.

LET’S COOK Meat-like texture, tender. Delicate flesh with a sweet-salty flavor.

Cockles can be prepared in many different ways: in a white wine sauce, braised in a pan, in risottos or pasta, and can even be eaten raw, as in sashimi.


  • Before preparation, soak Greenland cockles in fresh water for several hours to remove sand from the shells.

To avoid poisoning, it's important to always follow safe shellfish storage, handling and cooking practices.
Sources : DFO