Report on Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas) Population Monitoring in Lac Bay 2022


The queen conch, orLobatus gigas, is an iconic species found within the Caribbean, beingboth economically andsocially important.Famous for its unique and beautiful shell, alongwith its role as a popular item in local dishes, this species is heavily fishedand, in someareas,highly threatened.A project started in the 1980's, Marcultura, worked to boost localpopulations by cultivating conch to be released in the bay (Hensen,1983). Unfortunately,there were no long-term positive impacts to the conch populations after this project.Since November 1992, queen conch havebeen listed as an CITES Appendix II species,which means it is at risk of endangerment. However, due to concerns over local populations,taking conch from Bonaire has been forbidden since 1985. Only legal imports (from countrieswith CITES export permits) are allowed. Unfortunately, poaching is still an ongoing issue forthe island.The conch middens (old shells) that can be seen in large piles along the Lac Caibeach are from conch caught locally and brought in from the Aves Islands.Other species in the genusLobatusandStrombusareLobatus raninus (hawkwing conch),Lobatus costatus(milk conch) andStrombus pugilus (fighting conch) also occur on Bonaire.Lobatus costatusare taken incidentally but their shell is verythick,and they have very littlemeat.

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