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Corporate Social Resposibility > Environmental Stewardship > Semirara Marine Hatchery Laboratory

Semirara Marine Hatchery Laboratory




The Semirara Marine Hatchery and Laboratory (SMHL) was created in 2010 to help propagate an endangered giant clam species, the Tridacna gigas. It is the largest living bivalve mollusk, which no longer exists in many areas where it once was plentiful—a possible result of overexploitation as a source of livelihood and food, or sold to the aquarium trade. The International Union for Conservation of Natures (IUCN) has included the clam in its list of vulnerable species.


Forming linkages with eminent figures in marine biology was essential to SMHL's success, as they provided much-needed technical expertise to guide SMHL staff. Three National Scientists for Marine Biology helped establish the SMHL: Dr. Angel Alcala, Dr. Edgardo Gomez, and Dr. Gavino Trono.


The Marine Hatchery and Laboratory was also established to help develop technology to aid the livelihood of the communities’ fisherfolk to increase fish yield in areas outside the sanctuary and around Semirara Island, protect and manage the island’s vibrant coastal ecosystem, restore and rehabilitate depleted or damaged areas.


More than a decade after the company first placed 150 pieces of Tridacna Gigas to assess the waters around Panian, the giant clams now thrive in the Hatchery. As of March 2017, more than 161,000 giant clams have been produced.



Seeding of Giant Clams in Calaca

On September 29, 2016, 50 giant clams from Semirara Island were reseeded on the shoreline of the SEM-Calaca Power Corporation (SCPC) Plant Complex.


With the propagation of giant clams in the area, SCPC aims to promote a more robust marine environment for the plant's nearby residents. The giant clams play host to algae which serve as highly-nutritious food sources for various fish species. The clams and algae also have a symbiotic relationship in which the clams provide a suitable environment for algae to grow, while they benefit from the algae's by-products from photosynthesis. The company had earmarked Php2 million for this project.


Pearl Culture


The Semirara Marine Hatchery and Laboratory is now also conducting experiments in pearl culture. On April 23, 2016, they harvested 150 pieces of pearl oyster, Ptera penguin, which was implanted with half-round nucleus to Half/Mabe/Blister pearl.


Reef Rehabilitation


Reef rehabilitation is another project that the Marine Hatchery has undertaken by transplanting coral fragments and seagrass. So far, three (3) batches of coral fragments were transplanted successfully by the staff. From a total 722 coral fragments, 135 are stocked in the raceway. There were also 587 that were transferred to Tabunan Cove, increasing its total to 1,196 pieces of transplanted coral fragments.


Two (2) species of seagrass were also successfully transplanted: The Enhalus acoroides and Thalassia hempricii, both are very common seagrasses found in Semirara. Twelve (12) pieces of the former were planted in sand-filled sacks, while the latter were planted in sand-filled containers.


Marine Biodiversity Survey


In 2015, SMPC engaged the services of Siliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management (SUAKCREM) to conduct a survey of the whole coastal area of Semirara Island.


A team of marine biologists, led by its former director and National Scientist Dr. Angel Alcala, teamed up with representatives of Barangays Alegria and Tinogboc to study the seawater and identify areas that can be declared as protected. The data generated from the survey would then serve as a baseline record for the coastal management of the Island's marine resources. 


Based on the results, contrary to expectations for mining areas, the reefs surveyed had extensive coverage of live hard coral cover and relatively high fish biomass and density.


Considering the results, a multi-sectoral conservation effort was recommended, wherein Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) may be established in Barangays Alegria and Tinogboc to stabilize the coral reef systems and increase fish population.