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150 tonnes of giant clam shells seized in the Philippines

The Coast Guard in the Philippines has stopped poachers and seized more than 150 tonnes of giant clam shells. This is the largest such seizure in history. The value of the shells was put at US$95 million! The poachers were apprehended and arrested on 16 April on Palawan Island. It was a joint operation by
Published: April 21, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:24
150 tonnes of giant clam shells seized in the Philippines

The Coast Guard in the Philippines has stopped poachers and seized more than 150 tonnes of giant clam shells. This is the largest such seizure in history. The value of the shells was put at US$95 million!

The poachers were apprehended and arrested on 16 April on Palawan Island. It was a joint operation by a combined team of PCSD Enforcement, PNP Maritime Group Palawan, Coast Guard and Naval Intelligence. As a result of the entire operation, officers confiscated over 150 tonnes of giant clam(Tridacna gigas) shells.

JOINT LAW ENFORCEMENT OPERATIVES HIT BIGGEST GIANT CLAM SHELL HAUL IN PALAWAN

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)…

Posted by Philippine Coast Guard on Friday, April 16, 2021

During the arrest, officers discovered whole piles of Taklobo shells (the local name for the giant clam). Some of them were found by officers on the shore, while others were placed by poachers in the sea water. This is the largest illegal catch of these bivalves revealed by local officials. The value of the seized shells was put at USD 25 million.

Why such a huge amount? All because Taklobo mussel shells are a substitute for ivory. And it is extremely difficult to obtain ivory since elephants have been carefully protected. As we know, the market abhors a vacuum and it was decided that Tridacna gigas shells could fill the gap.

The giant henbit is an endangered species and is under strict protection. Unfortunately, as the penalties for Philippines penalties for poaching are very low. The maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment and about USD 4 000 in fines. Undoubtedly, comparing this with the potential profit, it does not seem that such consequences could effectively deter those engaged in this practice.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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