Thursday, February 28, 2013

When the Mangal Marine Sanctuary "MMS") is established, the first joint project of Mangal and the Municipality of Mansalay will be to seed MMS with giant clams.

Giant clams: The answer to PHL’s dwindling fish supply?

SCIENCE tells us that among the three nutrients—carbohydrates, fat and protein—many Filipinos are deficient in the third. This deficiency has a bad physiological impact on muscles and bones, as well as cell functioning.
For many years, fish served as the poor’s man source of protein, providing more than half of Filipinos’ protein needs. However, that no longer seems to be true.
In 2011 The Philippine Star reported that the country’s fisheries are about to collapse because many have plundered and abused the seas.
In 2003 some 28 kilograms of fish were available for every Filipino, but in 2010 it dropped to a woeful 10 kgs.
Our bodies are not equipped to store protein for the long term; it has to be used. In the past Juan de la Cruz needs to consume a lot of fish to keep himself healthy.
(To digress: Nonito “The Flash” Donaire eats nothing but fish while on training; Manny Pacquiao, though a herbivore or a vegetable eater, is as much of a carnivore as the lions in Africa. Guess who was named 2012’s “Boxer of the Year”?)
Science teachers tell us a teenage girl and boy needs 46 and 52 grams of protein, respectively, every day; the adult man and woman, 48 and 56 grams, respectively. The World Bank, aware that the Filipino population grows at 1.9 percent per annum, said the demand for fish will shoot up to 2 billion kgs by 2020. Where will Filipinos then get their protein, given that meat is not as healthy as fish?
Perhaps giant clams, also known as Tidacna Gigas (TG), could substitute for fish, since it does not only provide protein, but also selenium, zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium.
TG provides a lot of meat, since it can grow up to 4 feet and balloon up to 40 pounds. It is, however, among the most endangered of the 150 clam varieties in the world, and can be found only in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. How lucky can we get? Even better, they can propagate very fast, even in captivity. That’s why these clams are cultivated in the Bolinao Marine Laboratory in Pangasinan province.
TG is also very prolific creature—a hermaphrodite, in fact, since it contains both sperm and eggs and is capable of producing a million eggs at any one time.
In an experiment, a TG produced—hold your breath—14 million eggs, according to agri-fishery sources. Even better, a chemical called serotenin can be used to induce the clam’s valve to open and release sperm and eggs.
TG is said to enhance the life cycle of corals, which serve as sanctuaries for fish, and can attract many varieties of fish to where it lives. That’s a marine treasure, right there.
Is TG the new “gold of the sea,” a pleasant substitute for fish whose numbers are dwindling in the country? Can you imagine TG being grilled, stewed, dried or eaten raw? Can you imagine it being used in Philippine dishes like sinigang, adobo, tinola and paksiw? After all, TG is considered as an exotic delicacy among picky gourmands in Japan and France.
It must be noted, however, that men should go slow in eating TG, since it is a known aphrodisiac and can increase testosterone levels. If that happens, our population problems may worsen.
Kidding aside, we hope that we are planting the seeds of a new scientific approach to food sustenance in the face of dwindling food sources worldwide. Recently, an AFP C-160 cargo plane transported 200 giant clams from the Bolinao marine lab to Bohol province for propagation.
Obviously, we can no longer rely on fish. We cannot bang our heads against the wall while waiting for the return of the Great Fish. Propagating TG, therefore, represents science’s victory over despair.
Truly, success is infectious. Consider: 250 feet off the shores of Batangas province, very near the high-end seaside resort village of Pico de Loro of the Henry Sy Group, is a “clam garden” using the TG variety.
The smart Henry Sy, entrepreneur par excellance, must know something we ordinary folks are just beginning to understand.
Are we on our way to finding a long-term solution to our dwindling fish supply?

200 giant clams to be transported to Bohol

Category: Agri-Commodities
Published on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 19:26
Written by Zaff Solmerin / Correspondent

 A fish swims above a giant clam at a coral reef in the waters of Bolinao town, Pangasinan province. 200 clams like the one in the photo are expected to be transported to Bohol province’s Bingag town soon.
THE local government unit (LGU) of Bolinao town in Pangasinan province is set to provide at least 200 giant clams for seeding in a marine protected area (MPA) in Bohol province’s Bingag town as part of a livelihood project, it was learned on Wednesday.
Known locally as taklobo, these clams are expected to attract other marine species by providing nutrition and shelter to small sea animals.
The Bohol provincial government regards the project as a way to reduce poverty and ensure food security in the province without sacrificing vital marine resources in protected areas.
Brig. Gen. Rolando Jungco, head of the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the military has teamed up with the Bingag and Bolinao LGUs to implement the project, which not only aims to provide livelihood to people in some insurgency-free provinces like Bohol, but also to help promote and protect the environment. He added that the venture is in line with the Armed Forces’ Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan.
“Actually, this is the main objective of the Bayanihan. After clearing an area from the influence of rebels, we have to support efforts of the government to [promote] economic development such as the introduction of sustainable livelihood projects for the people,” Jungco said.
He also said Armed Forces Chief of Staff Emmanuel Bautista allowed the use of military resources to help the Bohol provincial government implement the project.
AFP Spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the military will provide manpower and equipment in transporting the giant clams from an ocean nursery in Bolinao.
“The giant clams will be flown via the Philippine Air Force’s C130 plane to Tagbilaran, Bohol, before they are transported onboard four M35 trucks to the MPA,” Burgos said.
“[Transporting the taklobo is crucial,] since any delay in the schedule will threaten the survival of [the] giant clams, [which] can only be transported [within] 11 hours,” he added.
“By providing a C130 plane [and] M35 trucks, the AFP will shorten the time needed for the swift transportation and seeding of the giant clams,” the spokesman said.
According to the spokesman, the AFP and the Bohol provincial government have been partners for many years, especially during the implementation of the IPSP, which was called the “Bohol Experience.”
“Through the partnership of the local government, private organizations and individuals, and other stakeholders, the anti-insurgency efforts of the AFP in Bohol was successful and accounted for the further improvement of tourism and economy of the province,” Burgos said.
Bautista lauded the provincial government and the people of Bohol for their contributions in the nationwide effort to save the environment and the marine resources of the country.
“The strong partnership we have with the government and people of Bohol remains to be one of the success stories of IPSP Bayanihan,” Bautista said.
“We are well aware of the adverse effects of environmental degradation [on] our communities, especially in coastal areas. This effort to transport 200 giant clams will further increase the volume of marine species in the seas of Bohol and promote biodiversity in the area,” he added.

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