The Bahamas is famed for many things. Sandy white beaches, relaxed attitudes to life, beautiful sunny days, world renowned diving and conch.
Conch, pronounced conk, is a delicacy here. Lobatuas gigas, Strombus gigas or
Queen Conch are the names of a sea snail that habits the waters around the Bahamas.
The conch is a slow moving herbivore. It consumes macroalgae, sea grass and unicellular algae. It takes about 3-5 years before a conch matures sufficiently enough so that it is able to make. Mating takes place most months of the year but not from November to January. Conchs are gonochoristic which means that they are either male or female. The females are usually larger than the males but exist in approximately equal numbers.
Conchs are subjected to over fishing. The are considered a delicacy and as they can command a high premium for their shells and meat they are in high demand.
The Bahamas government is concerned about the over fishing of conch and has put restrictions on the size and the developmental stage of the conch that you are allowed to catch. Conch is listed in the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as Appendix II. This listing refers to the species as threatened and standing to become en dangered. All international trade is prohibited among CITES signatory nations.
With that being said, as long as sustainable fishing practices are followed, conch could be here for a long time. Conch Fritters are a local speciality here on New Providence. I would recommend that you go and try them (from a restaurant that is supplied by sustainable fishing practices)…while you still can.
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