SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - Four o'clock in the morning, the buzz of motorized banca breaks the silence as men from various agencies move to transfer huge cases. And inside those cases were giant clams being transferred from Barangay Calapacuan to Snake Island in Subic Town.
40 true giant clams wrapped in watertight plastic bags were planted in Snake Island after being harvested from Bolinao, 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, PNP, Provincial Maritime, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Local Government of Subic under the Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program.
According to SBMA representative Marilou Dungog, the seeding program will 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.
"It is part of the agency's thrust to ensure that Subic Bay is a thriving area for marine wildlife while protecting the ecosystem. This is just the first of many conservation projects lined up by the SBMA," she said.
Meanwhile, giant clams in Bajo de Masinloc are being ravaged by Chinese fishermen as video footages and photos surface online of Chinese fishing boats hauling giant clams.
"It is a blatant disregard of our ecosystem. Not only did they defy our sovereignty, they also ravaged our environment," a fuming bystander said.
"The government should do something about it," he added. (Jonas Reyes)