Population Parameters of Asiatic Hard Clam, Meretrix meretrix (Bivalvia: Veneridae), in Panguil Bay, Philippines
Asiatic hard clam (Meretrix meretrix) is abundant and artisanally harvested in Panguil Bay, Philippines. Information about its current status through stock assessment is vital to support management measures. In this study, estimation of the population parameters of the clam was done using FiSAT II software from May 2018 to April 2019. A total of 2,760 clams were collected and analyzed. The length-weight relationship showed negative allometric growth. The asymptotic length (L∞) and growth coefficient (K) of the von Bertalanffy growth formula for M. meretrix were estimated at 40.95 mm and 0.71 year-1, respectively. The estimated growth performance index (φ’) was 3.07. The predicted maximum life span (tmax) of the clam was 6.47 years. Recruitment occurred throughout the year except for April and was bimodal. Estimated total mortality (Z) was 3.18 year-1, fishing mortality (F) at 1.96 year-1, natural mortality (M) at 1.22 year-1, and exploitation level (E) was 0.62. High recorded fishing and exploitation rate can indicate that the M. meretrix stock in Panguil Bay experiences overexploitation that demands immediate sustainable management.