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Conch for the Future

Feb 23, 2017

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.

BREEF recommends:

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.

#conchservation #BREEF242
For more information: https://breef.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Breef-QConchGuideforSchools.pdf

This young Bahamian girls is returning a large juvenile conch to the ocean to grow to maturity. 


BREEF BESS intern Jesse Sweeting (L) holding a large juvenile conch shell and BREEF Environmental Educator Jonisha Cartwright (R) holding a small adult conch shell.

* Queen conch (Strombus gigas) is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This means that the CITES secretariat considers the species to be endangered throughout its range and is in need of protection. Appendix II means that international trade (export) of the species is restricted and is only allowed upon issue of a CITES Export Certificate by the local CITES management authority, and with proof that the export of the species is not detrimental to the survival of the species.