Giant Clam project offers economic benefits

By Ivamere Nataro ,

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Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Senior Fisheries Officer for Aquaculture, Unity Roebeck explains the Giant Clams Aquaculture Project during the J.I.C.A. media tour last week.

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Senior Fisheries Officer for Aquaculture, Unity Roebeck explains the Giant Clams Aquaculture Project during the J.I.C.A. media tour last week.

The Giant Clam Aquaculture project has offered economic benefits to many villages in Upolu and Savai’i. 

This is an initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which is being implemented in their yearly plan.  

One of the 29 villages that is part of this project is Savaia, Lefaga in Upolu.

 According to the Senior Fisheries Officer, Unity Roebeck, Savaia recorded an estimated $20,000 annual income last year with this project under the village’s eco-tourism.

Mr. Roebeck said sometimes they are not able to supply the request from villages because the clams were not of the right size to be distributed. 

“The clams spawn once a year and it’s one of the biggest restrictions for us because if we miss that spawning season, then we will have to wait another year,” he said. 

Mr. Roebeck explains they are trying to get enough giant clams to villages and with the hatchery process, it takes about two years to grow a clam. 

“For villages to be part of this project, they have to first be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Community based Fisheries Management Project. 

“Once they have established a fisheries reserve and set bylaws to govern that reserve, they can then request for the clams. Our Coastal Fisheries Section team will then assess the reserve if it is suitable or not for the clams. If it is, then we will give the clams, but once they are in their right size. Villages don’t pay anything.”

Mr. Roebeck explained their main aim, through eco-tourism, is to restock reefs with the five clams that are being grown in Samoa. 

“Clams don’t require feeding, they are like plants, and they just require sunshine. They are quite sustainable too because we are not adding any chemicals or anything in the wild. 

“We have plans to carry out stock assessments to see what the population is of the clams out in the wild,” he added. 

There are five kinds of clams grown in Samoa, some of which include the Tridacna Squamosa, Tridacna Derasa and the Tridacna Gigas. 

The project is part of the Ministry’s core initiative. J.I.C.A. recently jumped on board in assisting with the settle plates, extra filtration system and shade covers for the hatchery.

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