By Jojo Riñoza
BOLINAO, Pangasinan – University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute – Bolinao Marine Laboratory (UPMSI-BML) is spearheading the ‘Adopt a Clam’ campaign in a bid to preserve and protect the to “taklobo” and its natural habitat.
The project is aimed at gathering funds to be used by the institution in ‘taklobo’conservation efforts, said Rubie Esmolo, Institutional Research Assistant at the UPMSI-BML.
‘Adopt a Clam’ according to UPMSI-BML, will likewise help increase public awareness on the state of the giant clams and its relevance to marine life.
During the project’s launching last Arpil 20, UPMSI reported that 131 ‘taklobos’ were adopted.
Ranging from a year old to 4 years old, adopting a clam will cost a foster parent from 200 to 400 pesos.
Foster parents will receive a certificate of the adoption and will be updated on the state of the adopted clam from time to time.
State of the ‘taklobos’
Taklobos are giant clams considered as the largest bivalve mollusks in the world.
They live in pristine and shallow waters and are important reef builders.
There are about 35,000 ‘taklobos’ in the waters off Bolinao and more than 200,000 in 70 other sites nationwide.
Eight of the eleven species in the world are found in the Philippines.
UPMSI-BML cultivates giant clams and makes clam seed readily available for restocking.
Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) considers giant clams as an endangered species due to unregulated harvesting and poor management that leads to its depletion.
Why are the taklobos important?
Esmolo explains that giant clams serve as ecological enhancers.
As filter-feeders, it helps clean the surrounding ocean water.
It helps in the formation of coral reefs and provides food and shelter for many marine organisms.
Restocking sites of giant clams are marine sanctuaries.
They attract various fish species leading to increased fish catch of local fishing communities.
UPMSI-BML plans to expand the project after it had an overwhelming response from the people.