‘Clams not for export’

Director of Fisheries Aisea Batibasaga. Picture: MELA KATONIVUALIKU

CLAMS or ‘vasua’ a shellfish which is considered a seafood delicacy locally can only be consumed locally but not exported.

Director of Fisheries Aisea Batibasaga clarified this to villagers in Vatoa, Lau on Monday.

“Clams or ‘vasua’ can be consumed locally but we have banned and stopped giving export licence to businesses that want to export the product abroad,” Mr Batibasaga said.

“We have found out that in most parts of Asia, the clam shells are more in demand than the flesh so most Asians are after the shell as it is more expensive than the flesh.”

Mr Batibasaga urged villagers to conserve clams and not sell them to random Asian fishermen or middlemen as they are near extinction.

He added that clam spawning or breeding is taking place in Makogai and the ministry was happy to work with the villagers of Vatoa in carrying out the same spawning project in the village.

Mr Batibasaga said the ‘tevoro’ species of clam that is near extinction was being spawned at Namuka in Lau and it is possible they can distribute it to other islands to breed. Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau urged the villagers to think about conserving marine life.

“Asian fishermen are the ones that come and exploit you and your marine life and they are the ones that win in the end as they generate income while we face depletion and extinction of marine life,” Mr Koroilavesau.

“It’s time we think of our future generation and leave something behind for them.”

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