The Philippines is home to eight of the twelve known existing giant clam species in the world, and six are being cultured at Bolinao’s Marine Biology Center. These include the Tridacna gigas, Hippopus hippopus, Tridacna derasa, Tridacna squamosa, Tridacna maxima and Tridacna crocea.

Bolinao in Pangasinan is known as the giant clam capital of the Philippines. The marine laboratory of the University of the Philippines’s Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) in Bolinao conceptualized the “Adopt A Clam” project to raise public awareness on the conservation of giant clams, mainly the taklobo, and its natural habitat.

Adoption

Image: MBFocusFeature – Manila Bulletin

Depending on the size, you can adopt a clam from 200 to 400 pesos, but you can’t take it home. The money will support the giant clam conservation efforts of UPMSI, which will also allow them to produce more baby giant clams for restocking throughout the whole country.

The foster parent gets to name the adopted clam, which will be released in a special section of the Philippines’ largest giant clam ocean nursery off Silaqui Island in Pangasinan province. They will also receive a certificate of the adoption and will be updated on the state and growth of their baby.

Why are giant clams important?

Image: Inquirer

Giant clams are beneficial to the marine environment as they serve as nursery to different kinds of fish and help maintain the balance of ecology in the reef. They are filter feeders so it helps clean the surrounding ocean water as well as providing food and shelter for many marine organisms.

Challenges

Image: Inquirer

Giant clams are endangered species and since they live on coral reefs and shallow warm waters, they face the same threats that affect reefs – overfishing, habitat destruction, and water pollution. This also includes human interest like poaching, unregulated harvesting for food and delicacy, and of course, illegal trade.

Adopt a giant clam today!