Across the tropical Asia-Pacific region, a race is underway to breed endangered giant clams and save them from extinction. Part plant, part animal, powered by the sun and algal symbiosis, these reef-dwelling molluscs bend the rules of biology, producing edible protein with astonishing efficiency. Harvested since prehistoric times for their meat and shells, they now face increasing pressure from poachers and growing populations. Giant clam aquaculture is a modern success story: today they are cultivated in 25 countries and displayed in aquariums around the world. In this presentation Gerald Heslinga, the father of giant clam farming, will explain where it began, why it matters, and how it is being achieved, with highlights from his travels, books, research, and near-death experiences.
Gerald Heslinga has spent over 30 years developing the sustainable production of endangered coral reef species, heart-healthy seafoods, and marine ornamental organisms through aquaculture. Educated at Harvard and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Gerald has worked professionally in 18 countries in the Asia-Pacific region — for universities, governments, private industry, and international agencies. Gerald and his wife Kyoko live in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where they have owned and operated Indo-Pacific Sea Farms since 1995. They have two married daughters and two very energetic grandchildren.