Will The Bahamas Have Conch in Twenty Years?

An excellent review paper on the status on the conch fishery in The Bahamas, based on research spanning more than 22 years. Much of this research associated with the organization Community Conch (www.communityconch.org). At the end of the paper find some specific management recommendations, and I include the Abstract below which provides a nice summary…

Broad-scale surveys for the economically valuable gastropod queen conch in historically important fishing grounds of the Bahamian archipelago provide opportunity to explore the impact of variable fishing intensity on population structures. Visual surveys spanning two decades showed that densities of mature individuals had a significant negative relationship with an index of fishing pressure (FP). Average shell length in a population was not related to FP, but shell lip thickness (an index of conch age) declined significantly with FP. Repeated surveys in three fishing grounds revealed that densities of mature conch have declined in all of those locations and the populations have become younger with time. Densities have also declined significantly in three repeated surveys (over 22 years) conducted in a large no-take fishery reserve. Unlike fished populations, the protected population has aged and appears to be declining for lack of recruitment. In all fishing grounds except those most lightly fished, densities of adult conch are now below that needed for successful mating and reproduction. It is clear that queen conch populations in The Bahamas have undergone serial depletion, nearing fishery collapse, and a wide range of recommendations aimed at stock recovery are offered including a broader network of no-take reserves.

By | 2019-01-13T10:27:04-05:00 January 10th, 2019|Categories: Conch, Featured, marine protected areas, Overfishing, Regulations|Comments Off on Will The Bahamas Have Conch in Twenty Years?

About the Author:

Craig Layman
My lab’s interdisciplinary pursuits provide for a multi-faceted understanding of environmental change in the coastal realm. We are ecologists, asking questions that span population, community, ecosystem and evolutionary sub-disciplines. We often use a food web based perspective, exploring top-down (e.g., predation) and bottom-up (e.g., nutrient excretion) mechanisms by which animals affect ecosystem processes. All of our efforts are framed within a broader outreach framework, directly integrating science and education, using approaches such as this website.