Friday, December 23, 2011

Giant Clam Culture in Semporna To Help Conserve Marine Heritage

SEMPORNA -- The Giant Clam Culture Centre on Buhey Dulang Island plays a vital role in conserving the marine ecosystem at the Tun Sakaran Marine Park off the coast of Semporna, Sabah.

The centre, the first of its kind under Sabah Parks, conducts research and cultures giant clams with seeds supplied to the local community to help them reduce their over-reliance on natural marine resources.

The centre, established in 2006 under the Semporna Islands Darwin Project, is the result of cooperation between Sabah Parks and the Marine Conservation Society-United Kingdom.

Sabah Parks' Marine Research Officer Nasrulhakim Maidin noted that the culture centre serves as an attraction where outsiders can learn more about the clams.

"Giant clam culture is important because their numbers have depleted from over-harvesting around the waters of Semporna," he told Bernama during a visit to Buhey Dulang Island of the coast of Semporna.

The giant clam is a mollusc in the Bivalvia class that thrives in Indo-Pacific waters.

There are seven species of giant clams in Malaysian Waters, and some can grow up to 60cm in length.

According to Nasrul, giant clams not only thrive on plankton but also produce their own nutrients through photosynthesis, with the help of the algae.

"The giant clam plays an important role in the marine ecosystem as it filters the water," he said.


So how to culture the giant clams? First, the giant clam brood stock is selected and its size is recorded for future reference.

Then the clam shell is cleaned with a nylon brush and numbered for future reference. The seeding is done by injecting diluted serotonin, a hormone, to stimulate spawning.

Within minutes, the giant clam stock reacts and produces eggs and sperm that are collected in big plastic bags to fertilize in a few days.

Six months after hatching, the seed is released into the sea within the reef area, initially in cages to protect them from predators.

The seeds that hatch at the centre are mostly relocated near Ribbon Reef, an area within the national park allocated for education on marine life.

Continue reading at: Giant Clam Culture in Semporna To Help Conserve Marine Heritage

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