TROCHIDAE (Top Shells)

Seashells

Trochus niloticus (Trochus, Topshell)

Trochus is a genus of gastropod molluscs of the family Trochidae. They are medium sized shells, with a conical spire and a flat base.

Trochus niloticus is the commercial trochus farmed for its shell for use in button manufacture. Trochus are collected from remote reefs in Western Australia and Queensland using small dinghies. They are harvested commercially by walking on reef tops at low tide and ‘dry picking’, or by snorkelling. TThis is a regulated species, rules apply.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Trochus niloticus (Trochus, Topshell)

The shell is thick, conical, with rounded mouth and a corneous operculum. The Trochidae feed on seaweeds, and live mostly in shallow water.

The trochus fishery began in the 1900s and flourished until the mid 1950s when plastics were introduced.

The trochus harvest fishery is managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. A Total Allowable Catch of 300 tonnes is permitted for commercial operators who must be licensed and hold an ‘Authority to Take Fish for Trade or Commerce’.

Photo: Robert Whyte