Announcement of Trochus (Semum) harvest season dates of June 20 – July 17 have been issued by the Division of Fish & Wildlife. Notice informs the public of sites where harvesting is prohibited and also of size restrictions.
While no trochus buyer has been secured, the current declared season is open to harvesting for local consumption.
“People can harvest semum for their own consumption, meat for food, for makit and shells for local jewelry market as long as it is not exported during this open season,” reported Acting Director Percy Recheluul of the Bureau of Marine Resources.
President Whipps said that the current buying offer is less than $1 a pound and it is better to harvest and process locally to gain higher value. In order to process and export products derived from trochus shell, Whipps said that the law, RPPL 10-54 will need to be amended.
Prices of trochus in international markets have been going down over the years due to cheaper replacement products. President Whipps said that it may be a good time to look at other options of benefiting from this resource locally instead of just direct export.
Last semum survey conducted by Bureau of Marine Resource and PICRC shows 20% increase in the number of trochus per hectare.
Estimated 2.9 million out of the 3.3 million estimated individuals are of legal harvestable size according to a survey conducted in 122 sites from Kayangel all the way to Peleliu.
Of the surveyed trochus count, 86% of the population are greater than the legal size of 3 inches and 48% of the population are greater than 4 inches.
Areas where collection of trochus is prohibited are Hatohobei State, Ngerukewid Island Wildlife Preserve, any other areas designated by States as “no harvest zones”.