Conch Season Open

Over 1.1 million pounds
of conch to be harvested during
the 2013-2014 season

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.
San Pedro Sun