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Dig sand to catch water worms

QUANG NAM – At low tide, leaving large sandy beaches on An Hoa estuary, people invite each other to dig to catch water worms and sell them for 50,000-100,000 VND/kg.

In the afternoon of the last days of July, after the tide, An Hoa estuary spread to Tam Giang, Tam Quang, Tam Hai and Tam Hoa communes, Nui Thanh district, revealing many hectares of sandy beaches. This area concentrates many water worms (other names such as worms, sea worms, worms, etc.) live.

Waterworms belong to the phylum of angiosperms, which live only in coastal sandbanks where high and low tides create sandbars. Water worms can be processed into many dishes such as soup, stir-fry…

In oriental medicine, water worms can be used as an aphrodisiac and increase vitality. In the traditional pho of Hanoi and Nam Dinh, to sweeten the broth, in addition to simmering bones, people also add water worms to contribute to sweetening the broth.

Mr. Do Van Minh, 54 years old from Nui Thanh town, carried a shovel with a blade of 30 cm, connected to a handle about 70 cm, and carried a plastic bucket by his side to the shoal of Tam Giang commune to start mining water worms.

“Water worms are available all year round, but the best time to catch them is from February to August of the lunar calendar,” said Mr. Minh, with more than 10 years of digging and catching worms.

Many people in Tam Giang commune were also present at the shoal early. Wherever the water recedes, they dig there. Discovering where there are many worms, they invite each other to catch them.

In the middle of the vast sandy beach, the water is still standing, but the worm catcher must be skilled to know where they are. “This species has the characteristic of leaving a small hole on the face, but the cave is similar to snails and clams, so it takes sharp eyes to find it,” Minh said.

Worms live in the sand from 10 cm to 30 cm deep, listening to the cave burrows deep into the cave very quickly, so when digging, you have to avoid its burrow, blocking the way to escape to expect to catch. The small worms dug up were released, people only caught worms over 15 cm long.

“When the shovel is inserted, throw the sand away and observe which direction they are located, you must quickly grab it”, Mr. Minh shared.

On the sandy beach, there are many sharp oyster and clam shells, so the feet of the worm catcher wear two layers of socks or boots to protect them from stepping on them.

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Le, 45 years old, Tam commune, holds two worms as big as an adult’s little finger and 20 to 40 cm long. Working 4 hours a day, she digs from 2 kg to 10 kg. “Before Covid-19 traders bought 100,000 VND kg of fresh worms, but now only 50,000 VND left,” she said, adding that worm hunting is seasonal. Each month, the water dries up for about 15 days to catch, the rest time is as a fisherman on the An Hoa estuary.

Worms are sold to traders, they buy them, wash them and put them on a drying rack. Whole fresh type, 3 kg dry for two days in the sun for 1 kg dry; The type must be turned inside out, washed 10 kg fresh, 1 kg dry.

A trader in the Nui Thanh district said that washed, preliminarily processed water worms are mainly exported to China. Currently, Covid-19 broke out, so the output was difficult, she bought it to dry and store it. Follow vnexpress

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