The window-pane shell Placuna placenta or 'kapis' has great economic importance in the Philippines. The translucent shell is used in the manufacture of lampshades and other shellcraft items exported to Europe, USA and Japan. Due to its high demand, excessive and uncontrolled gathering of kapis has been noted over the past years. Its possible depletion has been a concern; thus, a nationwide survey on the status of the fishery was conducted in 1993. There are 27 kapis beds in the Philippines, six of which are considered the major sources of kapis shells. Kapis shells are gathered by (1) handpicking (in shallow areas); (2) compressor diving (in deeper areas); and (3) dredging. Because of open access to the fishery, anybody can exploit the resource. Kapis stocks are declining in most beds, while in others they are already low as a result of excessive gathering, pollution, siltation, and destructive methods of fishing such as trawling. To prevent further depletion, establishment of sanctuaries, bans on trawling and other destructive means of fishing, strict enforcement of existing regulations, community-based fishery management, and further research on seed production, restocking, and transplantation are recommended.
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