Test Design Lighthouse

Mariculture in Malaysia as an alternative Source of Income in Sabah, Malaysia

The Semporna Islands Darwin Project (SIDP) is an initiative to get the local population involved in the conservation of the coral reef in the newly established Sakaran Marine Park, Sabah, Malaysia. The pro-ject, led by the Marine Conservation Society in collaboration with Sabah Parks, aims to protect out-standing natural features and the biodiversity of the site while simultaneously promoting sustainable use of natural resources, economic development and traditional culture.



Cultivation of seaweeds on long robes. Photo: Elisabeth Woods
Measuring giant clams. Photo: Irvan Mustapa

The project’s aim is to establish a breeding station for giant clams as an important element of an alterna-tive source of income and as a contribution to re-establishing the wildlife populations that have declined drastically. There is a long tradition in the Semporna area of using maritime invertebrates which has led to a decline in the populations of sea cucumbers, crustaceans, giant clams and other molluscs. Environ-mentally sensitive cultivation of these species could bring both employment and economic benefits to the local population and contribute directly to the conservation of the coral reef habitat.


A feasibility study was carried out with juvenile Tridacna squamosa (fluted giant clams) and Tridacna gigas (giant clams) which were imported from the neighbouring Philippines to introduce the breeding technology to the local population. Fishermen were taught how to control and monitor the health and growth rate of the mussels. After the first twelve months the survival rate of the mussels in all the sites in all the combined feasibility studies was 48% for Tridacna gigas and 40% for Tridacna squamosa. Part of the loss was due to thefts from the sites which illustrates the difficulties of carrying out the project.


Mussel growth was particularly high with the Tridacna gigas. Members of this species doubled in size in twelve months from 9 cm to 20 cm on average. Work is currently being carried out on developing the farming programme for this species and trials are planned for farming abalone, oysters and tectus trise-rialis.



To top

More information:


  • Philippines: Coastal management