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Save the Queen Conch

Thursday, August 29 2013

THE EDITOR: My attention was drawn to the article “Preserving the Lambi population” published, which gave an account of a three-week workshop held recently in St Vincent to discuss the sustainable management and conservation practices aimed at preserving the Queen Conch Fisheries in the Caribbean.

The workshop attracted participants from Antigua, and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Noticeably absent was a representative from Trinidad and Tobago. All the above countries recognise their conch as a valuable food source and have legislation and management plans to protect their Conch Fisheries.

Why no management plans for the conch in Trinidad and Tobago?

Are the value and the importance of this Marine Resource not being recognised by this and by previous Governments of our country? The Fisheries Act of Trinidad and Tobago, Act No 39 of 1916, is nearly 100 years old.

There is a diminishing population of Queen Conch in Tobago which, in the absence of any management plan, including a closed season, size limits, daily bag limit, and sanctuary areas, it continues to be exploited daily.

Queen Conch, like the Blue or “Callaloo” Crab, will soon become extinct in Tobago due to this continued “over fishing” if early action is not taken to save what is left of a formerly thriving population. No more “Crab and Dumplin”. To quote a well-known politician: “Why the worry? We have oil and gas and we can buy food”.

Ian Lambie

Tobago

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