Cutting of ribbon at the newly opened mariculture center for giant clam  seed production (Photo: Rhealyn C. Pojas)

Palau’s newly opened mariculture center for giant clam seed production is the largest in the world in terms of production and facility, according to Marine Resources Director Leon Remengesau.

The new Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center (PMDC) which is situated in Malakal, Koror just had its official opening ceremony on April 12. It houses thousands of seedlings of three species of giant clams that are intended for export and domestic markets.

The construction of the facility, which was built through a grant from Japan government, cost$6.6-million. It aims to have over a million seedlings aimed for distribution to local farmers and abroad and will also serve as an educational facility for both locals and tourists.

Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism Minister Umiich Sengebau, in his speech during the cutting of ribbon ceremony on Friday, April 12, said that giant clams are “keystone species for domestic food security and artisanal livelihoods for Palauans.”

“This new PMDC will play a vital role in supporting both of these aspects of our lives, promoting livelihood, diversification, and strengthening our ability to provide fresh, sustainably grown local specialties to our residents and visiting populations,” Sengebau said.

Sengebau added that the facility is a concrete demonstration of the government’s efforts to advance food security in the country.

Director Remengesau, meanwhile, said that the seedlings that are currently cultured at the center will be up for distribution by September in which they are expected to grow to up to three centimeters in length.

The key markets for giant clams abroad, according to Director Remengesau, are in Germany, France, and California. Through aquarium trade, a single farmer can earn up to $80,000 per year. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)