Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page.

Goose barnacles.

17 September 2008

Following my little piece about goose barnacles washed up on a local beach I had the following interesting email from David palmer


I read your latest fishing diary with interest (as always). Gooseneck barnacles are a highly sought after delicacy in Spain (my wife is Spanish) where they are known as percebes. They sell for around 30 euros per kilo but leading up to Christmas the price rises toward 100 euros per kilo. Being a percebes collector is meant to be a very dangerous as they are generally only available at low tide and on rocks that are exposed to a heavy surf. I am not sure if they are farmed but the requirement for the heavy surf may make it difficult.

Here is a romanticised snippet from the web about how they are collected...

‘Watching fisherman gather percebes is like watching a high-wire act at the circus. A fisherman gets close to a rockface in a little rowboat as the surf comes in and out. He ties a rope to his ankle and holds a knife in his teeth. He times his jump into the water with the surf and swims over to the rock where the Percebes are growing. He quickly chisels off a handful and stuffs them in a net bag around his waist. He then rushes back to his rowboat and tries to clear the rock before the next wave comes in. Every time he goes out to gather the Percebes, he faces the very likely possibility that he or his boat will be smashed against the rock with the next wave.’

The ones in your photos seem a lot thinner than the ones I have seen and eaten in Spain. They are probably a different variety and I couldn’t say for certain if these are worth cooking. To cook them simply boil them for a few minutes in salted water. They are delicious.

Thanks for your excellent and informative web site.



I commented (tongue in cheek) to the effect that perhaps we ought to make a fortune by going into the business of culturing Atlantic goose barnacles - it looks as though a few bits of rope dangling from buoys in the ocean would produce tonnes of the things. David then followed up with a reference to a website on edible barnacles from which I extracted a couple of pictures. 'Percebes' are certainly a different genus (Pollicipes I think) to the ones I found (Lepas) but I expect they taste similar and they are both certainly edible.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

My goose barnacles.

These look nice and juicy.'

Lepas anserina.

I believe that this type are eaten - they look more or less the same.'

Shore bound 'gooseneck' type.

These look less attractive but are obviously a delicacy only to be had at risk of life and limb.'