Ocean bounty: Sea snails wash up on Marang beach after cockles last year

Mohd Nasarudin, 26, showing his sea snail harvest from Pantai Rusila. – Bernama

MARANG (Bernama): Last seen over 50 years ago, sea snails of the Margistrombus species are being washed up on the beach at Pantai Rusila near Kampung Rhu Dua here.

Brought in by monsoon waves, its tasty squid-like flesh and pretty shells are enticing visitors to flock the beach to collect them.

Kamariah Mohammad, 64, told Bernama that the reappearance of the sea snails brought back childhood memories of eating the rare delicacy and could be cooked in many ways.

"Most who come here are not selling them because they want to taste the sea snails themselves, some share them with the villagers, ” said Kamariah, who lives nearby.

Last year, during the monsoon season, a similar phenomenon involving attracted the public to the same beach, but sea snails were the main star this year.

Another villager, Muhammad Nasaruddin Ramli, 26, said he gathered almost 7kg of the shellfish in about three hours.

"I got only 3kg yesterday and my family said the sea snails are delicious in ‘gulai masak lemak’ (cooked with coconut milk) and ‘masak tumis serai’ (stir-fried with lemongrass).

"I will give them to relatives and neighbours who cannot come today, ” he said, adding that he had never seen the snails before.

Besides looking for sea snails, visitors also took the chance to take a dip in the sea and enjoy the day with their families as fine weather presented itself.

Sekolah Kebangsaan Seberang Marang teacher El Gamillo Habibun Tan, 50, who hails from Muar, said he had came to take photos and videos of the occasion to keep as memories while working in the state.

"Praise God, the monsoon season in Terengganu this time continues to provide sustenance and blessings to the people, especially exotic food lovers. Yesterday, many went to Pantai Pandak near Chendering to look for cockles and today, Pantai Rusila became the focus, ” he said, sharing that a friend in Sabah told him the snails are known as ‘sikad-sikad’ in the East Malaysian state and easily found along coastlines there.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Tropical Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute senior lecturer Norainy Mohd Husin, confirmed from pictures and videos shown that the snails could be eaten.

"These snails can be found in Indo-Pacific waters including Sabah and Johor. Its appearance in Terengganu might have been caused by natural factors that need further research, ” said Norainy, who plans to go to the site to study the snails soon. – Bernama

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