Over 1.1 million pounds of conch to be harvested during the 2013-2014 season
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
The Belize Fisheries Department declared October 1st as the opening of the 2013 – 2014 conch season. During this season, which runs until the end of June 2014, over 1 million, 100 thousand pounds of Caribbean Queen Conch (scientifically known as strombusgigas) will be allowed to be harvested.
According to Mauro Gongora, Fisheries Officer at the Belize Fisheries Department, for the past three years, the conch season had to be closed earlier because the quotas were met before the official end of season. The Fisheries Regulation provides for the Fisheries Department to close the season before June 30th. “Last year we harvested 1 million 58 thousand pounds of conch. The quota was met before the deadline and so we closed the season early. This year the harvest quota is 1,100,470 pounds,” said Gongora.
The Fisheries Department is encouraging fishermen to deliver their conch product at the various cooperatives located in different parts of the county. “This will ensure that our conch is not illegally exported to the markets in Guatemala and Honduras,” highlighted Gongora.
The legal size of conch flesh is 3 ounces or more when it is 85% cleaned or 2 ¾ ounces or more when fully process for the market. Any conch flesh not meeting those sizes is considered undersized and illegal for marketing. “By experience, fishermen can tell when a conch is undersize or not when in their shell. However, generally the shell should be larger than seven inches for it to meet the harvest standards,” added Gongora.
“We are asking the fishermen to help us by delivering their product at the cooperatives. We are also asking the general public to report any suspected illegal activities as it relates to conch fishing activities. This will ensure that our fisheries remain sustainable for the longer term,” ended Gongora.
For more information regarding the Fisheries Department you can call them at telephone number 223-2623, 224-4552 and 223-2187.