Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2020. 7:38 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Fishing season for the Queen conch (Strombus Gigas) officially began today, October 1, 2020, in accordance with the Fisheries Regulations Section 6.
The Fisheries Department issued a public notice explaining that the conch season will run from October 2020 to June 30, 2021.
“The public is advised that if the conch production quota is realized earlier, the conch season will be declared closed,” the Fisheries Department said.
Under the Fisheries Regulations, once the season is closed, fishermen catching and or selling conch commits an offense. Persons or establishments purchasing out of season conch also commit an offense.
During the conch season, fishermen just ensure that harvested conch have shells above 7 inches long and weigh above 7.5 ounces.
Apart from being a staple delicacy in Belize, conch meat exports also account for millions of dollars in export revenue each year.
Back in 2014, two US-based non-governmental organizations, WildEarth Guardians and Friends of Animals had threatened to sue the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA Fisheries, over a decision to not list the queen conch as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
In 2019 A federal judge ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service’s denial for the queen conch’s protection through the Endangered Species Act was illegal. The ruling, WildEarth Guardians explained, “moves the queen conch back into the queue for full and fair consideration under the Endangered Species Act.”
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