Giant clams successfully protected in Chumphon

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CHUMPHON, Aug 31 – A conservation group in this southern province on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand has successfully protected endangered giant clams after one year of civic surveillance.

Suppanad Duangkamol, leader of the Giant Clam Conservation Group, said residents and fishermen of a Pathiew district fishing community entered into a social contract last year to protect the giant clams (Tridacna gigas), sea cucumbers and local coral varieties by declaring a 20km zone near tiny Ai Lok island to be off limits for fisheries. Ai Lok island is about seven kilometres from the mainland.

The community’s social contract and joint surveillance project was engineered after residents realised that state authorities acting alone could not stop encroachment on the resources of the sea.

The giant clam, native to shallow coral reefs, is one of the most endangered clam species. Its flesh is in great demand at Bt1,000 per kilo and the shells can be sold at attractive prices.

Thailand’s giant clam has been declared an endangered species under the Endangered and Wildlife Protection Act of BE 2535 (1992).