DFA probes mass harvesting of giant clams in Scarborough

MANILA— Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday said the department is currently looking into the reported mass harvesting of giant clams at the disputed Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc in Zambales.

“We just caught them doing that recently, filed a diplomatic note, and will be taking legal action,” he said on his official Twitter account in response to a news report that details the environmental destruction of Chinese dredging in the area.

Locsin said the issue is now with the agency’s Office of Treaties and Legal Affairs.

In a television interview, Locsin affirmed that all verified activities in the contested West Philippine Sea, including past reports of environmental devastation in Scarborough, has never slipped through the government.

“Nothing has escaped a protest,” he said.

In the report, Filipino fishermen said that Chinese vessels are mass harvesting giant clams in Scarborough Shoal for years. It also showed on video piles of dead giant clams stacked with distinct labels just a few feet below the surface water.

According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, running over the seabed to collect giant clams is destructive to the area’s marine ecosystem.

Such destruction, it said, would affect not only the food security of the Philippines but also other nations as part of the bigger ecosystem. (PNA)