In the Philippines, the Coast Guard carried out a record seizure of giant shells of the genus Tridacna. These are fossilized shells for a total weight of about 200 tons and with a market value of around 25 million dollars (equal to almost 21 million euros). The “booty” of taklobo, as they are locally called, was recovered on Sitio Green Island in the province of Palawan. Four suspects have been arrested, they face up to eight years in prison and a fine of over 50,000 euros.
Tridacna shells seized in the Philippines
In the genus Tridacna belongs the Gigas species, the largest living bivalve mollusk, it can reach the weight of 300 kilos, but on average they are around 200 kilograms. It lives in the tropical seas between the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. It is an endangered species that has developed in the ecosystem of coral reefs. “Weeding these giant shells from their natural environment is a kind of intergenerational crime,” said Jovic Fabello, spokesman for the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. “It affects the entire marine ecosystem and future generations will be deprived of it.”
In place of ivory
In the Philippines this is the third seizure of Tridacna in less than a month: another 18 tons had been recovered at the beginning of the week for a value of 1 million euros, and another in March for a value of 2.75 million. These shells can live up to one hundred years. Fishermen used trawl nets that destroy the seabed and then sell them to traders who use them for jewelry, cutlery, tiles and sometimes instead of ivory.
April 18, 2021 (change April 18, 2021 | 10:55)
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