A NUMBER of Giant Clams, taken illegally from coral reefs off the coast of Vietnam and seized by customs in Dublin Airport, are currently being housed in Dingle's Oceanworld.
These fascinating creatures produce their own algae and are highly prized by tropical fish collectors due to the spectrum of colour they produce under specific sorts of light.
Giant clams, under the right conditions, have the potential to grow to gigantic proportions and customs in Dublin Airport seizes them when an attempt was made to bring them into the country as part of a tropical fish consignment.
Marine expert Kevin Flannery and his team at Dingle Oceanworld are currently trying to preserve the health of these beautiful creatures where they are receiving around the clock care while being housed in temperature controlled tanks under special lighting.
"Essentially they are living off this light; they photosynthesise their own food by producing their own algae, they are amazing creatures," Kevin told The Kerryman.
"Under the right conditions they will keep growing to gigantic proportions and they produce a spectacular spectrum of colours making them highly prized by collectors."
"They came from Vietnam's coral reefs and should never have been removed as a ban exists; as a consequence they were seized by customs in Dublin and we are doing our best to keep them alive and well."
The staff at Oceanworld are also trying to aid their recovery by feeding them a special nutritional mix designed for shellfish.
Giant clams are valuable and can command high prices on the black market. They are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) but illegal trade in the species is causing the population to decrease dramatically.