BNNHC Update #3

The Bahamas National Natural History Conference wrapped up on Friday Mar. 8. The fourth and final day of the conference included an informative session dealing with queen conch ecology and management. CEI’s Claire Thomas gave a presentation on the status of queen conch populations in South Eleuthera. The populations are in decline, and Claire presented powerful graphs showing a significant decrease in adult conch in Cape Eleuthera, utilizing data collected by previous CEI queen conch researchers Erin Cash and Steve Auscavitch. Catherine Booker from Community Conch also spoke on reconsidering queen conch management in the Bahamas, and showed data from population surveys that Community Conch has done, revealing a disturbing trend that remaining stocks may not have high enough densities for mating to occur. Following the conch talks was a roundtable discussion, where a steering committee was formed to address the new idea of “conch”servation. The committee consists of government officials, representatives from NGOs including CEI, the Bahamas National Trust, and BREEF, and conch fishermen. Led by BNT’s Jarred Dillet, the goal of the committee is to gather information from each island on the status of the fishery, and the consensus of the local people on the need for new regulations or management of the queen conch fishery, the second largest fishery in the Bahamas.

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