By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano yesterday sounded the alarm bells over the poaching of giant clams in the province.
Yet the capitol has not done nothing to protect the mollusks that have been listed as endangered species and it has no clear plan of direct action yet to protect Misamis Oriental’s waters from giant clam poachers despite its professed eco-tourism protection thrust.
The Fisheries Code and other laws prohibit the harvest, theft, eating, sale and export of giant clams.
Emano said he was aware that giants clams or “taklobo,” were being sold in Misamis Oriental’s eastern town of Magsaysay, and around the Agutayan White Island in Jasaan town.
Misamis Oriental, according to Emano, is rich in giant clams.
“Sa Agutayan White Island gipangkawat, dako kaayo parehas kadagko sa lamesa,” he said.
Officials said an average giant clam commands a price of some P80 thousand, but the price really depends on the size.
Emano said part of the capitol’s thrust is to strengthen the province’s eco-tourism. “We have always promoted eco-tourism, and when it comes to eco-tourism, dili lang ang development, amo sang tan-awon ang pagpanalipod sa torismo.”
Despite the Emano administration’s ec-tourism thrust, the capitol has opted to leave the matter in the hands of the town governments.
“We will leave it up to the local government units,” said Emano. “If they need legal assistance, we will always make our legal office available.”
He reiterated: “We will leave it to the local — mag-agad mi sa ila.”
Josefino Bascug, a marine biologist serving as capitol consultant for the environment, and planning and development chief, said the giant clams should be left untouched because these play a vital role in the marine ecosystem.
“Ilang suyupon ang lubog nga tubig kay ilang kuhaon ang nutrients. Inig buga sa tubig, mas tinaw na,” Bascug explained.
Lawyer Jeoffrey Saclot, capitol’s tourism chief, said illegal poachers of giant clams could be charged with violation of provisions in the Fisheries Code.