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Lot of Clams: $25M Worth of Shells Seized in Philippines

Endangered giant clams worth a lot of shells
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2021 8:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – A raid in the Philippines saw the seizure of $25 million worth of an endangered species of giant clam. Per BBC, authorities in the ecologically protected Palawan province seized the massive haul of Tridacna gigas, the world's largest clam species, in what is being called one of the largest such raids to date. The clam shells, which can measure over three feet across and weigh in excess of 500 pounds, are used as a substitute for ivory in jewelry. While alive, the clams serve the far nobler purpose of filtering out pollutants in marine ecosystems, which they also help support by providing a home to billions of colorful algae, per NPR.

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The Philippine Coast Guard said in a statement that four suspects have been arrested in connection with the 200-ton haul. Jovic Fabello, spokesman with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, did not mince words about the severity of the crime. "Taking the giant clams from their natural habitat is a form of inter-generational crime," he told AFP. "It will permanently affect the marine ecosystem and future generations will be deprived of the benefits accruing from it." (Read more endangered species stories.)

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