Hopefully you have been paying attention. If not, here is a little #science and #perspective on Queen Conch.
Conch is economically extinct in Florida, Cuba and Jamaica has recently closed its conch fishery to protect the mollusk. In most other places, the conch is so rare, that the shell is prized and an expensive souvenir that must be treated with care.
Here in the Bahamas, we have conch “gone to bed” we focus on the conch meat for export and consumption in just about every serious restaurant.
Unfortunately, we do not know how old the conch we eat are. We do not know exactly how long they take to reach reproductive maturity and how long they take to find a mate after that.
Can you imagine if you walked as slow as a conch and you see another conch 100 meters away, but they are walking in the other direction? what if you get there and they are the same sex? What if just as you get there, some human catches and kills you?
So here are a few studies on how you figure out conch age, and how density affects reproduction.
Proxy measures for Queen Conch – Mueller and Stoner
and Density affects Queen Conch Mating – Stoner, Davis, Booker
Basically, we need more data, we need to know how many conch we have and how many they can produce for us year over year BEFORE we can know how many we can take from the population safely.
In the meantime, we can focus on sustainability and err on the side of caution. Please only accept a conch with a well flared, thick lip for your conch salad. Don’t eat conch more than once a month to start with. Ask your conch man for the shell to make something out of it.
From a Bahamian Perspective, we have the last healthy population, shouldnt we be working to make them last as long as possible?
Contact BREEF at http://www.breef.org or call them at 327-9000 to learn about conch.
Visit the Bahamas National Trust Conchservation page and Watch the conchservation video
Did you know some queen conch are male and some are female?
Message us if you want to learn about something else and think you would like some science and perspective.
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