Hainan bans giant clam and coral trade

From January 1st this year, the trading in corals and giant clams has been banned in Hainan Province. The ban, which is aimed at protecting marine resources prohibits the purchase and use of corals, giant clams and all related products. Ornaments made from the shells of endangered giant clams, renowned in China for having auspicious powers and the lustre of ivory, have become coveted luxuries. Giant clams can grow up to nearly four feet (1.2 meters) long and weigh 500 pounds (227 kilograms), and they play a significant part in keeping the South China Sea’s shallow-water reef habitats alive and well. They provide a home for seaweeds, sea sponges, snails, and slugs, and protection for young fish. They also fill a valuable role as filter feeders, cleaning the water of pollutants as they ingest algae or plankton. Currently they are they’re considered vulnerable to extinction. Hainan bans giant clam trade The giant clam is considered a delicacy in Japan (known as himejako), France, South East Asia and many Pacific Islands. Some Asian foods include the meat from the muscles of clams. Giant clam shells often are sold as decorative accoutrements. At times large amounts of money were paid for the adductor muscle, which many Asian cultures believe have aphrodisiac powers. A team of American and Italian researchers analyzed bivalves and found they were rich in amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Their high zinc content aids the production of testosterone. The seaside town of Tanmen, Qionghai with around 450 shops retailing in giant clams which was well-known for processing and selling giant clam products, has been hit hard with all retailing and processing activities having had to shut down. Gan Jie, mayor of Tanmen, is reported as saying in an interview that the local government will promote industry transformation by developing the fishing, specialty travel and hospitality industries.

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