[Coral-List] Global Giant Clam (Tridacna) Farming Status in the 21st

Don Baker reefpeace at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 4 17:30:06 EDT 2008

Hello Aqua-L Members & Coral-L Members,

There was great anticipation of establishing large, commercial giant clam farms throughout the north and south tropical Pacific - with scores of papers, manuals, guides, and studies undertaken during the past 3 decades. Much grant funding has gone through many institutions and scientist hands for developing methodologies that would be economically viable. What happened?  I have heard many opinions that 'it takes too long to grow-out the shell to harvesting size', or that hatchery 'methods are still not refined', or 'no brood stock adults' remain close by, or 'more studies are needed (to grab more free money?).' 

One thing that giant clams serious have as an advantage over say fish cage culture is one does not have to feed them.  Why not treat a giant clam farm as a 'tree farm' then?  Apply similar regimes and cohort 'planting?'  Of course, ensure the cohorts are well taken care of during the grow-out period designated for a specific market appeal. (i.e. Tridacna derasa 2 year old shell harvested for seafood dinner plate entree - clam sauteed and returned to its origin shells - that one can take home with a printed card  that its a 'certified' farm raised seafood[hint]).

But I hear of many mariculture 'horror' stories of shell stocks eventually neglected, forgotten, and eventually poached. I hear of hatcheries failing and falling apart. And I hear of more varieties of 'Charlie Tuna' cans on the shelves of the island stores..that serve to fatten the pockets of a few and assist to ensure protein poverty of the many....that can't afford to buy the canned fish and seafood imported.  

These canned fish imports are now in serious international question with regards to pirate fleets roaming the very islands themselves to harvest their pelagic fisheries, send/sell to the processing factories in 1st world countries, can it up, and send it back in container ships to the islands to sell on the store shelves - their very same fish found in their island region!

This issue, of course, does not address the fact that world fisheries may end in 2040/50 IF we continue to entertain world population growth without proper guidance and regimes for control (regardless of religions or customs) and continue to harvest our ocean fishery stocks in the same manner as present.

But to get back to the issue of this Letter; where are the currently operating giant clam farms now?  

As far as I know, there are no established giant clam farms operating for the culture of seafood products that serves the needs of giving alternative income to poor fishers in the island regions.    People say it just won't work. Why?

But even for the marine aquarium trade - where are the currently operating giant clam farms operating to serve this limited high priced market?

Any island government interested in getting a viable giant clam sea farm up and running, I am ready to assist.  The market speculative rise in oil prices has caused a resultant rise in food costs. The UN fears global starvation in some 3rd world nations and regions.  Farming the soil is not fully appreciated in Africa and grossly underdeveloped.  Farming the sea in the islands of the tropical Pacific has also been poorly appreciated - especially when people can buy "chicken of the sea" in a can off the shelf and not have to get wet and work too hard. 

We can farm the sea as well as the soil.  It just requires some hard work, passion, devotion, and diligence....and perhaps inspired by the fact that one's children may soon face a serious reduction in available food in the islands as the shipping routes and schedules may be affected, reduced as a result of higher fuel costs.

 Any information, recommendations, contacts & email addresses, advice, and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Regards from Guam, USA,
Don Baker

Alternate Email: donbjr95 at hotmail.com


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