Protecting Pipis

Pipis are a wonderful natural resource which are underrated both as a seafood and a natural bait to catch bream and whiting. We are so fortunate to have local beaches which support a healthy population of the shellfish. Stockton Beach is one of the states most heavily populated beaches. It is interesting to note that only one beach south of Sydney, Seven Mile Beach, Geroa has a pipi colony anywhere near the size of Stockton.

Aboriginal people feasted on the shellfish for thousands of years and deposited huge middens of shells along our coastline which reflect how important the pipi was to their culture.

Not so long ago, pipis were harvested by commercial and recreational fishers along with members of the public who would arrive here by the bus load. It was open slather. There were no government conditions in place to protect the resource.

NSW Fisheries have since moved, to follow other states in Australia, by implementing rules and regulations to control the harvest. Starting this month, commercial pipi gatherers will be working to a quota and not a closed season. It is hoped that the system is a successful move resulting in a sustainable fishery. Recreational fishers and members of the public are not permitted to remove pipis from the beach.

Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on or send an email to with your information and questions. 

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