It receives the names of “piangua” (Colombia and Costa Rica), “concha negra” (Peru, Nicaragua and El Salvador), “curil” (El Salvador and Honduras), “chucheca” (Panama), “concha prieta” (Panama ), “Concha” (Ecuador), “mule legs” (Mexico) and “donkey shell” (Guatemala).
The piangua or Andara tuberculosa, is a small bivalve (with two valves -each one of the hard and movable pieces that make up the shell-), which although it is not very popular in the center of the country, is considered one of the most popular dishes. desired in the south of the Valley and the north of Nariño of Colombia, where they are extracted.
It is part of the fishing that is artisanal and that IS CULTURALLY EXCLUSIVE FROM THE HAND OF THE WOMEN OF THE Colombian PACIFIC, although there is also one or another piangüero.
!?What should we know about the Piangua
The extraction of piangua is an important activity among the Afro-descendant communities of the Pacific region, who have ancestrally exploited the resource in an artisanal way for self-consumption and income generation. It is estimated that more than 11,300 rural families live off this resource.
It is important to know about sexual reproduction with external fertilization, the fertilized ovules form an egg that becomes a larva, which is dragged by currents and tides until it finds a place of fixation. This grows reaching the juvenile stage in 5 months of life, with the size of the shell approximately 3 cm and mature for extraction is 5 cm.
This activity of collecting piangua is part of the inclusion of gender and the participation of the family group. This small mollusk is the economic, cultural and food sustenance of their families. To continue with this tradition, they are willing to carry out a voluntary ban to give reproduction a break.
In times of low tide, women spend hours crouching down feeling the roots of the mangroves, in the middle of the muddy land, looking for pianguas: small invertebrates that have traditionally been their livelihood. Their effort is arduous, since being immersed in the mud they expose themselves to the bites of some insects or other animals such as toadfish, wild shrimp and some crabs.
Their job is ancestral and in the middle of their long working hours they take advantage of that intimate moment to talk, sing and tell different anecdotes and stories. For the coastal communities of the Colombian Pacific, the piangua represents a key income in the homes, in addition to being one of the emblematic foods of the area. But in recent years, both the female piangua (tuberculous anadara), the highest order abroad, and the male piangua (anadara similis), used for local consumption, have been affected by their high demand.
A woman can engage in piangüar in the mangroves from 5 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. This is a practice that consists of putting your hands in the mud, one hand to grab the nest and with the other hand to start digging. It is a process in which a synchronized movement takes place, as in a circular way, opening a hole in the middle of the swamp until the mollusk called piangua is captured
Among some of the most popular recipes with this product are the piangua ceviche, TAMALES DE PIANGUA and the sudado de piangua, with which the ‘triple’ dish with shrimp is also made.
The piangua, is part of the folklore of the Colombian Pacific, is an opportunity for the growth of the region in supporting the micro-enterprises and economy of this exotic mollusk that, apart from supporting the inclusion of the genus, has properties such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iodine, zinc, magnesium, omega 3, 6 and 9; that allows the strengthening and supplement of our daily diet if it were treated in capsules or medicinal tablets.
The contribution of the interview to Mr. Freddy Orjuela (Marine Biologist) says: “It is important to highlight that piangua is a product that connects the mangrove as an ecosystem and women as a sustainable economic system; both being the basis of the blue economy, the piangua is part of the Sustainable Development Goals UN SDG 5 and 11, it is important that we support its development ”.