Conch for the Future
Conch are becoming harder to find, both in the ocean and at our local restaurants. This is a warning sign for us to take action now before this precious resource is gone. The Bahamas has a special opportunity to learn from other places that have already lost their conch such as Florida, and we can take a more precautionary approach here to ensure that we still will have conch for our future.
1. End the illegal harvest of conchs that do not have a well-formed flared lip. Juvenile conch may be large, but conch are only mature and able to reproduce when the lip is flared and thick (at least the width of your thumb).
2. Establish a network of fully-protected Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in conch breeding areas. Adult conch require a high density in order to be able to effectively reproduce (www.communityconch.org) and many areas of The Bahamas now no longer have enough conch to breed. Effectively managed MPAs are an important tool to ensure that the next generation of conch are born and can, through spillover, replenish fishing grounds outside their boundaries.
3. Keep our conch in The Bahamas –
a) Effectively enforce our waters from illegal poaching. Poaching, particularly using damaging fishing techniques, hurts our current and future resources.
b) Stop the export of conch. We are losing value that could otherwise benefit Bahamian fishermen, restaurants, hotels, taxi drivers and the public by exporting Bahamian conch so that it can be served in the US and elsewhere.
For more information: https://breef.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Breef-QConchGuideforSchools.pdf