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Halaan Farming in the Philippines: How to Culture and Farm Clams

Halaan farming  (Manila clam scientific Lajonkairia lajonkairii) in the Philippines is common on muddy beaches around the country, especially in places near estuaries. Halaan farming can be a profitable aquaculture business if properly managed and with enough clam seeds.

The Halaan Shell

Halaan (scientific name: Lajonkairia lajonkairii) is an edible species of saltwater clam in the family Veneridae, the Venus clams. It is popularly known as punaw  shell in Negros and is one of the most economically important clam shells alongside blood cockle or blood clam (Litob in Negros, Tegillarca granosa). Halaan is different from Tulya (Corbicula fluminea) which grows in freshwater.

Common names for the species include Manila clam, Japanese littleneck clam, Japanese cockle, and Japanese carpet shell.

The shell of halaan is elongate, oval, and sculptured with radiating ribs. It is generally 40 to 57 millimeters wide, with a maximum width of 79 millimeters. The shell is quite variable in color and patterning, being cream-colored to gray with concentric lines or patches. Individuals living in anoxic conditions may be black. The inside surface of the shell is often white with purple edges. The siphons are separated at the tips.

halaan farming
Halaan shells

Halaan Farming

Although the halaan shell grows in the wild, farming can protect against overharvesting and can dictate the size of the harvest.  Halaan farming does not include a complicated process. All you need is at least 1000 square meters of beach land. The solid must be a mixture and mud and sand for the clams to grow. You also need young clams to grow and you can buy these seed clams from other halaan farmers. Just clean the beach land and must be free from algae and other garbage. Algae is its main threat. Halaan can be harvested starting six months and there is no feed needed.

Halaan shell can cost between P50 (cheapest) to P200 per kilogram depending on which part of the Philippines. in Metro Manila, it can cost more than P200 especially if you sell it directly to hotels and restaurants.  There are several recipes that can be made with halaan but the most common are tinola, sweet and sour, adobo, and ginataan.

 

Halaan Reproduction

Male clam shells produce sperm and release it into the water, while females produce eggs that are retained internally. The sperm get drawn into the female bivalve through her siphons, and fertilization occurs.

Questions related to halaan farming (Manila clams)

Are Manila clams from the Philippines?

Manila clams are native to Japan, accidentally introduced to Canadian waters during the 1920s or 1930s. They now range from the central coast of British Columbia (particularly beaches in the bays and estuaries in Georgia Strait and the west coast of Vancouver Island) to California.

What is the difference between Manila clams and clams?

In the wild, Manila clams live alongside Pacific Littleneck clams (not to be confused with the Eastern Littleneck clam), and although similar in aspect because they belong to the same family, the Manila are milder in flavor with recognizable umami qualities.

Are Manila clams good?

The sweetest, most tender clams you’ll ever eat, Manilas are also the snazziest dressers. Chefs love the way Manila clams’ striped, colorful shells bring a dish to life. Equally good steamed, and sautéed, Manilas have made many a new clam lover.

Can Manila clams be eaten raw?

Manila clams can either be served raw like oysters* or cooked. Discard any clams that aren’t tightly closed or do not close when tapped. Before cooking or serving raw, rinse them under running water and, if necessary, scrub them with a stiff brush. You do not need to purge these clams.

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