Clams to help slam trade shut

7 September 2015

In welcoming the opening of the Giant Clams Memorial Graveyard at the Territory Wildlife Park in Darwin today, National Threatened Species Day, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck, highlighted the importance of education for protecting Australia's threatened species.

Giant clams have been completely removed in many parts of the world, and are listed as vulnerable under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). From November 2013- April 2014, six illegal foreign fishing boats were intercepted in Northern Australia carrying hundreds of illegal giant clams.

"Seized as part of a joint operation between the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Australian Border Force (then Border Protection Command), and the Royal Australian Navy, these clams have now been donated to museums, schools and scientific institutions, including the Territory Wildlife Park," Senator Colbeck said.

'While the illegal fishing of these magnificent creatures was a tragedy, we can create awareness of the detrimental impact of illegal fishing through displays like the one opened today.

"More than 50 were donated as part of the park's display and have been used throughout the park telling the story of the creatures and the impact of illegal foreign fishing.

The exhibit was officially opened today by Darwin couple Stefania and Jan Filkus (JF Stonecraft) who donated the headstone with AFMA's Senior Manager Compliance Operations, John Davis on hand to provide the audience with the story of how the giant clams were seized and the detrimental impact of illegal fishing. Also included as part of the display is interpretive signage to provide visitors with more information about the history of the clams.

Australia is home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Monday 7 September marks the anniversary of the death of the last Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) in captivity. Each year on this day, activities are held across Australia to raise community awareness of threatened species and celebrate Australia's unique biodiversity.

For more information about how the clams were seized visit afma.gov.au

070915 Giant clams opening
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