Vongole clams, Katelysia scalarina, are a native bivalve found in Southern Australia from Western Australia to New South Wales. This species can be found buried in muddy or sandy substrate in the intertidal zone of shallow estuaries and bays around Tasmania, with the only commercial fishery located at Ansons Bay (Grove, 2011; Keane and Gardner, 2017). The shells of Vongole Clams are white to brown in colour and oval in shape.
A rapid and extreme decline in abundance of Vongole at Ansons Bay was apparent in 2014 (Keane and Gardner, 2018). The most probable cause for the population collapse appeared related to both the low levels of pre-recruits observed in the 2006 – 2017 surveys, exacerbated by sporadic events of high natural mortality and cumulative fishing mortality of recruited Vongole (Tarbath and Gardner, 2015). It was noted during the 2015 survey that the density of non-commercial bivalve species (e.g., Katelysia rhytiphora, Paphies sp., Callista sp.) was remarkably low compared with previous years, indicating that an environmental factor had increased mortality of Vongole and other bivalves (Tarbath and Gardner, 2015).