Artificial method to help cockles spawn


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016

Dwindling numbers: Dr Tan showing the cockles graph in Malaysia at her office in USM.

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia should attempt artificial spawning to address the dwindling number of cockles, said marine biologist Associate Prof Dr Aileen Tan.

Dr Tan, from Universiti Sains Malay­sia (USM), said this had been done successfully before at the university which also has the skills for the task. They would collect cockles from areas where there used to be abundant molluscs.

“We will do a strain selection by picking the ‘hardy’ ones; those with stronger genes among the pool of cockles. It is like carrying out an In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) to produce offsprings to be used for our aquaculture. Those selected will be used as brood stock and we want to multiply the numbers before releasing them to the habitat.

“These are the ones that can withstand the pollutants, stress in the environment or diseases. These strains will be able to tolerate most environmental pressures and most suitable to be farmed,” she said.

This was among the proposals that emerged at the World Congress of Malacology held here last month.

Attended by 300 scientists from 41 countries, the event was orga­nised by the Brussels-based Unitas Malacologica Society,

Dr Tan is Unitas Malacologica’s past president (2013 to 2016) and the first woman president in the 54-year-old society.

In May, The Star reported that the multi-million ringgit Malaysian cockle breeding industry was on the brink with just 16,000 tonnes harvested last year.

At its peak in 2010, Malaysia produced 80,000 tonnes of cockles for local consumption and export.

Asked about the dwindling numbers, Dr Tan said various external factors were suspected including pollution and habitat degradation.

The drastic drop in molluscs was seen in many other countries like Canada and United States.

“We feel it more because it contributes to the country’s economy,” she said.

Dr Tan said another method to stop the decline was to use the “off-bottom culturing method”, similar to that of farming oysters using wooden platforms that float in the sea without touching the seabed.

“We have done it for clams and I feel it can be done for cockles too. But we need to invest in the wooden platforms to keep the industry sustainable,” she said.

At present, she said cockles were usually cultured on the seabed which exposed them to pollutants.

Dr Tan also said Malaysians could opt for clams as replacements in dis­hes like curry mee or char kuay teow.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Environment , dr aileen tan , cockles

   

Next In Nation

Court allows Abdul Azeez's application to stay hearing of corruption, money laundering case
Police: MyBayar Saman 50% discount for traffic summonses extended till Thursday
Anwar: Only Azmin's personal opinion my voice is in viral audio clip
Dr Wee: JPJ offering 70% discount on compoundable summonses to mark anniversary
Cops should also investigate person who taped alleged Anwar-Zahid conversation, says Pasir Gudang MP
Malaysia on course for 2022 cloud data target
No food supply shortages expected during fasting month in Perak
Illegal racing: Kuantan cops seize 30 cars, detain five teens for driving without licence
GOF nabs three Indonesian men trying to enter Malaysia illegally
Bottled it: Man's privates get stuck in plastic vessel

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers