Before we dive in, we'd like to say a big vinaka to our small, dedicated Tavarua team, who continued to care for these clams in unpredictable times and under challenging circumstances.
While certain human events were unforeseen, other natural adversaries were anticipated, including multiple cyclone events. These weather events can leave the reef and our ocean clams vulnerable to predators, including the crown of thorns starfish.
Our team continues to eradicate these ravenous creatures by hand in an effort to control the rapidly multiplying and destructive species.
We also encountered a very crafty octopus who began to visit our clam cages frequently, like a new favorite restaurant. It is no wonder these extraordinary creatures need a little extra help to get re-established. Amidst all of these trials, the clams in the ocean continued to thrive!
The Tridacna Derasa babies are still being cared for in the nursery tanks on island. These clams are slow-growing and more susceptible to pests and moss growth, so they have all received overdue maintenance. They continue to have a healthy growth rate. As a result, they should be ready for the ocean very soon, most likely after the cyclone season has passed.
As we provided due care to the main cages in the ocean, we realized how much our original batch of juvenile Gigas glams had grown! Some had nearly burst out of their individual "condos." More than half of them have now been reintroduced into their natural coral habitat with their siblings and appear to be thriving.
With such an abundance of happy clams, we've extended this stewardship to our neighboring island of Namotu. They are now joining in the adventure of rearing and reviving these endangered giant clams in the ocean off their own shores.
Amidst this re-exploration, we have also found evidence of spawning events! This makes our hearts swell with excitement! With the combination of clam spawning materials and the currents off Tavarua, we have the potential to assist in re-seeding the entire western side of Fiji. Stretching from the Coral Coast, through the Mananuca chain, and the Yasawas!
This project aims to bring a once-thriving species back ,not only for its symbiotic benefits within the marine environment but to allow Fijians to continue their tradition of subsistence living. We are grateful to continue this work alongside the Department of Fisheries, and we are proud to have surpassed their expectations. Our survival rate is the best that has ever been achieved in Fiji! In fact, they are so happy with our success, we've adopted more "toddler" clams!
Stay tuned and stay happy as a clam!