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$50,000 Grant To Protect Conch

THE Bahamas National Trust (BNT) has received a third $50,000 grant from The Moore Bahamas Foundation (MBF) to support its work to protect the rapidly declining population of the iconic Queen Conch.

This is the third year that funding from the Foundation is supporting the partnership betweenthe BNT, the government, corporate Bahamas and the conservation community which has formed the Conchservation Campaign. This year’s donation brings the total of the MBF’s grants to $150,000 in the campaign to protect the conch population from depletion.

The Conchservation Campaign was formed in response to the startling results of research showing that traditional Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas) fishing grounds in The Bahamas were showing signs of possible collapse, according to BNT Executive Director Eric Carey.

“It is important to remember that we still have an opportunity to maintain viable conch fishery but we must develop a strategy that we can realistically police and we must conduct an education program to demonstrate why it is so critical that we do not deplete our conch population. We need to learn from Florida and Bermuda where the conch fisheries collapsed in the 1970s and despite full closure to fishing, have yet to recover,” said Mr Carey. “A parallel demise for the Bahamian Queen Conch fishery would devastate the nation ecologically, economically, and culturally.”

The Conchservation Campaign aims to prevent this outcome for the Bahamian fishery through research, education, and multi stakeholder collaboration.

The Queen Conch, commonly used to make conch salad and other dishes, plays a major role in the marine food web and loss of the Conch fishery would be detrimental to endangered and vulnerable species like sharks, turtles and spotted eagle rays that feed on conch, as well as hermit crabs, damselfishes and other opportunists that use the shell of dead conchs as a habitat. In addition, the loss of the fishery would hugely impact the economy and the livelihood of countless Bahamians who rely on harvesting and sale of conch as an important source of income.

The Queen conch is also an essential cultural symbol uniting all islands of The Bahamas and the high demand by visitors greatly benefits the countries tourism economy.

“The Moore Bahamas Foundation has graciously supported Conchservation from its inception,” said Mr Carey, “because they understand and appreciate the significance of the Queen Conch to The Bahamas. This year’s renewed support will allow the Bahamas National Trust to continue its campaign through 2016. The Moore Bahamas Foundation provides support through Bahamas National Trust Fund Inc., a US 501c3 public charity.

“The Moore Bahamas Foundation responded immediately and effectively to the Conchservation Campaign with a pledge of $150,000 over three years. This support has underpinned the campaign, providing important funding to get the campaign off and running. When we are successful in our efforts to save this iconic species from extinction, The Moore Bahamas Foundation will deserve significant credit for its visionary investment in the Conchservation campaign.”

Louis Bacon, Founder and Chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation of which the MBF is a local affiliate, said: “We are proud to partner with Bahamas National Trust as they take key next steps in their campaign to preserve the iconic Queen Conch. Our multifaceted partnership brings to light the wide range of communities impacted by the health of this seminal species and the importance of their fight to protect it.”

Comments

DiverBelow 3 years, 10 months ago

Greatly appreciated gift for much needed education. In the old days diving in West End, the thick lipped Queen conch were left alone. They were old, the meat tough & grey, after all those years of pushing that Big Thick-Lipped Nasty Algae covered Shell around, must be some 20-30 years old at least! Lets get the Clean Thin-Lip Rollers with large milky meat and then sell the shell!!...

Unknown to us those were the mature breeders! We were practicing good management & did not know it! The Thick-Lip ones bred many many times a year & produced young conch year after year after year. Why can we not do the same now? Leave the Thick lip conch alone... more than 1/4" thick Lip? leave it alone!... a simple piece of plastic with 1/4" gap will work as a convenient gauge to measure.

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themessenger 3 years, 10 months ago

What is needed every bit as much as education is conservation and proper enforcement. The conch populations are over exploited much in the same way grouper has been prior to a closed season being implemented. The Hooka (compressor) rigs that Mr. Ingraham bestowed on us are abused on a daily basis. Legal only for the harvesting of crawfish and in that season only, these apparatus are indiscriminately used by fishermen year round to harvest anything that swims or crawls. I have personally seen evidence of whole beds of small rollers in the Exumas wiped out by greedy individuals who take them ashore by the bucket full and break them out with a hammer. We Bahamians practice little in the way of conservation, always taking all rather than enough. The great emptiness will soon be upon us as is evidenced by the increasing decline in conch, lobster and fish stocks and we are racing headlong to embrace it.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

Any Bahamians investing in conch farms in The Bahamas ............ like in Turks and Caicos?????????? ........ What are we going to do when the poachers take all of the conch???

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

Do you know the value that the Chinese place on the conch shell ....... that we throw/give away???? ....... they make thousands of dollars off cutting conch ceramics ......... but we just pile them up as wave breakers

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