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Seasonal conch ban being considered ...
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Posted by:Jun 19th 2005, 06:52:22 pm
Fig Tree News TeamThis week's weighs in:

"The Tribune Monday 13th June reported that the Minister for Fisheries Alfred Gray is to begin the process of consulting the public and the fishermen in the country on the possible ban of harvesting conchs. There is now some concern in the country that this staple is in danger with over harvesting. The juvenile conchs are turning up in the market place, and conchs are now being found further and further away from the shore in deeper waters. Experiments with conch farming have not been as productive so as to allow for commercial production.

"The Minister will have a hard time we are sure to enforce any such conch ban. When the Ministry announced the ban on groupers, there was a howl from the fishermen even though the ban was designed to save the fish for them to be able to harvest in the future. The Tribune spoke to some fishermen who immediately denied that there was a problem with conch. That goes to show what is waiting in the wings.

"We support a ban on harvesting of conch during certain times of the year and in certain places in the sea all year round."
Posted by:Jun 12th 2005, 03:33:44 am
kristiThe ban would be positive in the long run. I find it a good idea. The conch fisherman though should have some sort of compensation from the government.
Posted by:Jun 11th 2005, 03:47:43 pm
Fig Tree News Team[Ed. -- perhaps now many of our local and visiting fishermen will reconsider taking too-young conch (six-inch lip, if you're wondering). We're overfishing a very important resource ... here to hoping that we can change our habits before wild conch disappears from the local waters entirely, as it has already in Key West, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.]

Conch Ban Under Consideration
Bianca Symonette
The Bahama Journal

Some fish vendors and fishermen on Thursday expressed concerns that officials in the Department of Fisheries are considering placing a ban on Ďconching.í

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries V. Alfred Gray said in his communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday that the ban may be implemented during a period when the annual ban on grouper has expired and when the crawfish season is open so that fishermen and vendors would not be seriously impacted by the move.

But some of those who make their living from the sea said that such a ban would be bad for business.

"The main thing is that they should stipulate what size conch fishermen can bring in. The government should see to it that the fishermen bring in the larger conch because if they just place a ban on the whole it would affect everyone in the [conch] salad business and that would be a bad thing to do," said Garnet Duncombe, a conch vendor, who operates from the Farmers Market on Blue Hill Road South.

He said placing the ban on conching during the crawfish season would not help the fishermen who only go after conch.

"It would still hurt the conch market because some people are only in the conch business so when they ban the conch for two or three months that means we will be out of work for that time," Mr. Duncombe said.

He suggested that fishermen should dive for conch in deeper waters rather than depending on the smaller conchs in the shallow waters.

Mr. Duncombe also said that conch move away from shallow waters when the see that conch shells have been thrown into those waters.

"The conch are moving deeper and deeper in the water," he explained.

Ishmel Grant, another conch vendor, also rejects any plan to place a total ban on conching during a certain period of the year.

He too added though that fishermen should be responsible and only bring in large conch to allow the younger ones to mature and mate to increase the conch population.

"If the government placed a ban on conch, itís going to be very rough," Mr. Grant said. "That would be very bad because I wonít be able to make a living if a ban is placed. The conch is something that is sold on a daily basis in The Bahamas, so if we donít have [any] conch to sell it would be like the country will be dead."

He explained that the reason fishermen attempt to remove conch from shallow waters is because the conch is more tender than those in deeper waters.

However, Mr. Grant indicated that the government should place a ban on conch under a certain size.

Rupert Dean, a local fisherman, agrees that a ban may be necessary to protect the industry.

"The conch [is often too] small," said Mr. Dean, adding that some local fishermen may be contributing to depleting the current population of conch.

"I think its necessary to do something before we take away something that the tourists and Bahamians enjoy.

Samuel Mortimer, another fisherman, also supported the ban, pointing out that it may be needed to ensure that the conch species remains in abundant supply for generations to come.

Minister Gray assured that his Ministry will carefully weigh the concerns of local fishermen and vendors before making a final decision on whether to put the ban in place.

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