Protected marine creature bred artificially for discharge in river habitat

By Lim Chang-won Posted : June 2, 2022, 17:25 Updated : June 2, 2022, 17:25

[Courtesy of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries]

SEOUL -- Clithon retropictum is a protected species of freshwater and brackish water snail with an operculum. It lives in the estuary of a clean river and eats attached algae or organic matter. It is very vulnerable to the deterioration of water quality or changes in the river environment. 

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries designated the bracken as a protected marine creature in 2016 and succeeded in developing artificial proliferation in 2021 for the first time in the world in a project involving researchers from the National Marine Biodiversity Institute and Gunsan University. 

The research team will release more than 1,000 young Clithon retropictum individuals at the mouth of a river in the southern county of Goseong, the ministry said. For post-monitoring, the research team will mark discharged snails with harmless waste points or fluorescent materials on their shell.
"This discharge is the world's first successful case of species restoration through artificial growth. We will continue to push for efforts to restore marine protected creatures," Lee Jae-young, a ministry official, said in a statement on June 2. The lifespan of Clithon retropictum is up to 12 years and it belongs among the most long-lived of freshwater gastropods. Its habitat has been reduced due to development and pollution, and now it lives only in limited areas.
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