Don’t Consume Snail, Giant Clam On Island-hopping and Snorkeling Tours

Giant Clam

Giant Clams Are Under Great Pressure In Phu Quoc

In Phu Quoc, the giant clam population is under significant strain due to overfishing. The substantial demand for these clams, particularly from boat tours and local restaurants on the island, is leading to their depletion, posing a threat to the coral reefs in the area.

It is important to understand the many benefits that giant clams offer to strengthen the case for their conservation.


Giant Clams Role

Giant clams play an important role in the marine ecosystem.

  • Predators and scavengers feed on their tissues, while opportunistic feeders consume their discharges of live zooxanthellae, feces, and gametes. The shells of giant clams provide a surface for colonization by epibionts, while commensal and ectoparasitic organisms live within their mantle cavities.
  • Giant clams make the reef more diverse and act as reservoirs of zooxanthellae, which can help counteract eutrophication through water filtering.
  • Lastly, dense populations of giant clams contribute to the reef framework by producing large amounts of calcium carbonate shell material.
Giant Clam at a coral reef
Giant Clam look colorful at a coral reef

For many years, there has been a situation on Phu Quoc island where giant clams have been caught for sale on boat tours to tourists. However, from OnBird’s observation until 2024, it seems that giant clams are close to becoming locally extinct. Nowadays, we rarely see giant clams at coral reefs, and many of them have been caught or taken away from their initial locations.

Clam living on the rock at U-Turn, Phu Quoc Snorkeling & Diving spot
Clam living on the rock at U-Turn, Phu Quoc Snorkeling & Diving spot

Fishermen and boat crews are catching giant clams at coral reefs that are designated as marine protected areas (MPAs) in Phu Quoc Island. These clams are being sold to tourists on local boat tours. Please note that purchasing or consuming these giant clams is not recommended as it is illegal and harmful to the ecosystem. Therefore, it’s best to avoid buying or eating them.


No Seafood Sale Snorkeling Tours

OnBird is working to raise awareness about sustainable travel, particularly when it comes to joining diving and snorkeling tours. They offer specialized guided snorkeling experiences that don’t involve the sale of seafood, and they prohibit the sale of seafood altogether. This is especially important for giant clams, which are close to becoming locally extinct.