Tokoriki Island Resort saving local reefs one clam at a time...
Tokoriki Island Resort is passionate about regenerating critically endangered Tridacna Gigas Clams.
In 2000, the resort partnered with the Ministry of Fisheries to establish the Tokoriki Island Resort Giant Clam Regeneration Project, which is committed to protecting and breeding Giant Clams – the largest living bivalve mollus and one of the most threatened and misunderstood clam species in the world.
Giant Clams play an extremely important role within coral reef ecosystems.
Their tissue is food for a wide range of marine species; their shells provide shelter to a lot of different organisms; the sheer size and calcium carbonate material of their shells help to shape and build the framework of reefs; and they counteract “eutrophication” – the nutrient enrichment of water that can lead to excessive algal growth.
They’re not the human-eating, feet-grabbing predators that people think of when they imagine Giant Clams. In fact, they’re shy, gentle creatures that are essential to the health and survival of coral reefs.
The muscle that stretches between the two shells is considered a delicacy in South East Asia, and due to over-harvesting, Giant Clam numbers are in rapid decline, with conservationists now deeming them vulnerable to extinction. Additionally, they live a sedentary lifestyle – once they latch onto a spot in a reef, they stay there for life – and they mature sexually late in life, which makes breeding difficult.
Eighteen years after the initiative was implemented, the Tokoriki team is seeing positive results. The project now boasts the largest number of sexually mature Giant Clams anywhere in Fiji, including twice as many as the Ministry of Fisheries itself.
The Tokoriki clams have grown from 10 centimetres to more than one metre in length, and from a few grams to over 100 kilograms. They’re now sexually mature, so the resort has established a breeding colony to reintroduce them to the seas around the Mamanuca Islands.