Field Document No. 8
AQUARIUM GIANT CLAMS IN JAPAN
The designations employed and the presentations of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
The Food and Agriculture Organization is greatly indebted to the organizations and individuals who assisted in the implementation of the project by providing information, advice and facilities.
Giant clam aquaculture was originated in Palau, a Pacific island nation, by Mr.Gerald Heslinga in the late 1970s, mainly for aiming to produce its adductor muscle for overseas markets, particularly in Asian countries.
Because of simple technique in its seed production developed by Mr.Heslinga and the decline of wild stock in many islands, a construction rush of giant clam hatcheries happened in the Pacific region in the late 1980s to the early 1990s under arrangement of external assistance. Today, there are ten hatcheries operating in the region.
There is, however, currently only a single private giant clam farm commercially operating in the region, despite repeated marketing promotions made by several aid organizations for the last decade. Slow growth, low yielding by predation and narrow market channels of adductor muscle hampered marketing of this new commodity against the expectation of giant clam scientists and researchers, and many of the hatcheries were to be disappointed with the low commercial profile of this animal.
In order to support in the sustainability of those hatchery operations in an economic sense, the South Pacific Aquaculture Development Project (SPADP) approached Okinawa which is the only place in Asia traditionally consuming whole flesh of giant clam, preferably small one. However, the trade of cultured young clams between Palau and Okinawa failed because of disagreement of price.
Meanwhile the pioneer Mr.Heslinga explored a new market of young clams for aquarium use in the US mainland at a comparatively high price. Thanks to his exploration, those hatcheries in the region were re-encouraged in maintaining their operation. Many countries are today exporting cultured young giant clams for aquarium market in the US rather than the food market in Asian countries.
Since, however, such aquarium market in the US appears to be rather small, there is an urgent need to expand marketing channels in other countries. In this view, SPADP made a survey in Japan which is one of the major aquarium fish importers in the world and which is located close to the Pacific islands.
Chief Technical Adviser
SOUTH PACIFIC AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (PHASE II)
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
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MARKET SURVEY OF AQUARIUM GIANT CLAMS IN JAPAN
1. Aquarium market in Japan
2. Imports of aquarium pets in Japan
3. Giant clam supply from Okinawa
3-1. Catch and value
3-2. Seed production and culture
3-3. Supply of aquarium giant clams
4. Dealers of aquarium giant clams in Japan
4-3. Other organizations
5. Marketability of aquarium giant clams in Japan
5-1. Marketing routes
5-2. Demand and supply
5-3. Price and pricing factors
5-4. Competitors of South Pacific giant clams
5-5. Import procedures in Japan
6. Characteristics of giant clams as aquarium organisms
7. Marine invertebrates other than giant clams
7-1. Stony corals
7-2. Coral base rocks
7-3. Soft corals
7-4. Other invertebrates
V. USEFUL ADDRESSES