Statement in Response to Newspaper Editorial Open Letter on Conch Conservation


The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs (MOAMRFIA) continues its holistic efforts to manage the queen conch fishery on behalf of, and in partnerhsip with, the Bahamian people. We are all in this together. The need to balance urgent current needs against the absolute necessity for sustainability is at the forefront of the Ministry’s considerations.

This responsibility involves due consideration of reputable scientific studies and, importantly, the opinions of a variety of stakeholders such as the BNT and direct resource users such as fishers. Future generations not yet able to speak for themselves are also heavily considered.
The Ministry continues to incrementally strenghthen the Department of Marine Resources, despite financial resource constraints. The public may recall public launchings of enforcement vessels in various islands over the last two years. More are soon to come.

Fisheries officers have also been placed throughout the islands. The officers are increasingly equipped with needed tools such as trucks in order to conduct enforcement patrols. In addition, training and technical tools to scientfically measure the size of conch at landing sites have been supplied to fisheries officers.

Strategic enforcement partnerships between the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), BahWen, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Royal Bahamas Defense Force and international partners are also at advanced levels of development.

Measures, such as a closed season, a minimum lip thickness of 14mm to protect juvenile conch, removal of conch from bag limits, the landing of conch in the shell so enforcement officers can determine maturity and other measures have received consideration. One necessary initial measure implemented in January 2021, included a ban on the export of commercial quantities of conch to help to reduce
fishing pressure.

MOAMRFIA continues to strive toward sustainable management of the queen conch. This will soon include consultations to develop a comprehensive management plan, further support for aquaculture, further enablement of Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) to promote the use of conch shells, support for Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority (BAHFSA) to promote
food safety amid occassional conch poisoning outbreaks and additional conch surveys to further monitor the state of the conch fishery.
The Ministry encourages all to do their part to protect our conch fishery and other marine resources.