Razor clams, or Hoi Lot in Thai, have been a source of food and income for local fishermen in the central province of Samut Songkhram for decades. But the razor clam population at the mouth of the Mae Klong river is now under threat. This report takes you to Don Hoi Lot, a habitat of the distinctive shellfish, to find out more.
The complex ecosystem of Don Hoi Lot, registered as an international wetland under the Ramsar Convention in 2001, was once home to a great variety of species.
Yet recent a research carried out by Chulalongkorn University in cooperation with the area’s local community reported the density of razor clams had decreased sharply from five per square metre in 2004 to just one this year.
“In the past the area had a high density razor clam population. But the number of clams is now in crisis and they are nearly extinct. Ten years ago each fisherman harvested at least 10-kilogrammes of clams a day while today around three-kilogrammes of clams is the largest amount we can catch, said a razor clam collector.
Panuwatra Kongraksa, a leading member of the local Don Hoi Lot biodiversity conservation committee, explains why razor clams are rare.