08 March 2012

SBMA seeds more ‘taklobo’ in Subic Bay

More giant clams or “taklobo” have found their way into Subic Bay through a marine resources conservation program of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the active participation of various stakeholders in this free port.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said the agency recently seeded the Ilanin Bay here with 200 taklobo seedlings for this year’s clam-seeding project, as part of the agency’s vision to make the Freeport an eco-urban center which merges industrial development with eco-tourism.

The SBMA purchased the giant clams from the UP Marine Science Institute in Bolinao, Pangasinan with proceeds from this year’s “Takbo para sa Taklobo” fundraising project initiated by the SBMA Ecology Center.

“This is already some sort of a social responsibility project supported by the whole Subic Bay Freeport community,” Garcia explained.

“Everybody pitches in here — from students to workers at locator-companies, to SBMA employees and Freeport Zone residents. We’re very much happy to be involved because we know we’re helping make a better world,” he added.

Giant clams (tridacna gigas), which can live up to a hundred years, are considered an endangered species and serve an integral part of the coral reef system.

SBMA marine biologist Dorothy Joyce Ardiente said their decline could have an adverse effect on the biodiversity of the marine ecosystem, which is why the SBMA has decided on clam seeding as its cornerstone marine conservation program.

The clams, which measure an average of 15 centimeters in diameter when they are seeded, can grow up to 1.5 meters in diameter and weigh up to 258 kilos.

The “Takbo para Taklobo” conservation run has caught on the Subic Bay Freeport community ever since SBMA environment specialist Rhea Jane Pescador conceptualized it in 2010 as a environmental awareness project of the SBMA Ecology Center

The event has been attended by some 1,500 runners in the inaugural run, and by more than 2,000 participants last year. The project raised P54,000 in 2010 and P84,340 last year. (MPD/SBMA)

A volunteer diver holds up a crate containing giant clams bound for seeding at Ilanin Bay in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The project is part of the SBMA’s marine resources conservation program.