Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#15: Clam farms in Fiji are back up and running

The Joint Aquarium Fiji Expedition left Makogai last spring, but the expedition members continue to be closely connected to the Makogai people and developments in Fiji. Recently, the Namena Marine Reserve and the crew of NAI'A were featured in a Discovery photo essay called "Coral Success Story" by Emily Sohn. The story highlights successes of Marine Protected Areas around Fiji, and it's definitely worth checking out.

Detail photo by Keith Ellenbogen.

There have also been reports that the Makogai clam farm is back up and running. During the expedition, it was reported that equipment malfunctions and lack of funds stalled the farm, but since then the Fiji Government has asked for restoration of project funds and now the only Tridacna farm in all of Fiji is back up and running!

The 100-year-old generator that powered the Makogai farms was out of fuel at the beginning of this year. Photo by Bruce Thayer.
The clam farms are growing two different species: Tridacna gigas and crocea juveniles. They are reared for distribution to the reefs in protected areas all over the country. According to reports, these large healthy specimens produce prodigous amounts of gametes and innoculate surrounding areas that are pretty much devoid of clams.