Palau opens giant clam research facility

The Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center (PMDC) officially opened its doors on April 12 in Malakal, Koror State. Toshiyuki Yamada, ambassador of Japan in Palau, and Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., president of the Republic of Palau led the officials who attended the opening ceremony. (Photo from the Embassy of Japan in the Republic of Palau)

Palau – The Palau Government officially opened the newly renovated Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center on April 12. The facility, located in Malakal, Koror State, supports aquaculture of giant clams and other marine research activities.

Like tourism, the fishery and aquaculture industry has provided a source of economic revenues for the island nation. One of Palau’s important marine products is the giant clam. 

The center, which was first established in the 70s, recognized the importance of sustainably managing this marine resource and soon became known for pioneering work on giant clam culture. Species cultured in the facility includes the Tridacna crocea, T. derasa, T. gigas, T. maxima, T. squamosa, Hippopus hippopos and H. porcellanus.

Most of the giant clam seedlings are distributed to state governments for reseeding programs, according to the Office of the President of Palau.

In 2016, the Japanese government provided a $6.6 million grant to fund the center renovations and upgrade equipment.

With the announcement of the grant, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said Palau cannot continue to rely entirely on the wild when it comes to subsistence and commercial food production. “Palau and its partners are investing heavily in local aquaculture to ensure that food availability is secure for our people and our visitors.”

The renovations include a marine resource library, expansion of administrative offices for staff and technicians, research labs, and a seedling facility that will produce 1 million seedlings per year.

During the opening ceremony, Remengesau gave a speech on behalf of the Palauan government and thanked Japanese government and JICA for their assistance.

He said, “I am proud that this Center becomes the largest one in the world.  Let’s think outside of the box and make it as productive and successful as possible.”