02 June 2014

Subic underscores importance of giant clams

At four o’clock in the morning, the sound of a motorized banca breaks the silence as personnel from various agencies start to move huge cases containing giant clams – for transfer from Barangay Calapacuan to Snake Island in Subic town.

At least 40 true giant clams wrapped in watertight plastic bags were planted on Snake Island after being harvested from Bolinao in Pangasinan on Tuesday.

The seeding of these giant clams is part of the “Launching and Seeding of Giant Clams” project of the Subic Marine Protected Area Management Council.

The council is composed of officials from the Municipal Agriculture Office of Subic, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Subic Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council, Philippine National Police, Provincial Maritime, Philippine Coast Guard, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and the local government unit of Subic under the Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program.

According to SBMA representative Marilou Dungog, the seeding program is expected to spur the growth of organism in the reef.

She added that these giant clams are an integral part of the reef, serving as nurseries for a host of fish and invertebrate species, including damsels, gobies, and tiny commensal crustaceans such as shrimp.

She added that sedentary organisms like sponges, tunicates, corals, and algae find giant clam shells perfect substrates for attachment.

Giant clams also act as filter feeders, sifting planktonic debris from the water for food, thereby improving overall water quality. (Jonas Reyes, Manila Bulletin)