One of the major activities at MERC is its Giant Clam Propagation Programme which was initiated in 2007 to actively propagate giant clams to be re-stocked in the sea. When populations of giant clams are revived through active introduction from MERC’s hatchery, these clams would grow into maturity and eventually spawn naturally in the protected waters of Malohom Bay. This reverses the risk of extinction currently being faced by giant clams.

What it takes

Breeding giant clams requires a series of stages to be undertaken.  First, matured clam specimens need to be successfully induced to release eggs and sperm for reproduction to take place. Plankton has to be cultured to feed the tiny hatchery-bred clams during the early stages of their lives. Larval and settlement tanks are used to collect and allow these clams to settle on the selected substrates after undergoing various stages of metamorphosis over a 5-7 day period. Thereafter, there is a long wait of up to three years until the clams grow large enough within the nursery to survive on their own in the wild.

What we have achieved

MERC has successfully produced all seven species of giant clams found in Malaysia. Under this programme, over 10,000 spats above one centimetre in length have been produced and transferred from the hatchery to the nursery area.