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Nov 4, 2014

Fisheries Department Says the Conch is Not Endangered in Belize

Fisher folks are celebrating a decision taken by the United States not to enlist the queen conch as threatened or endangered species. The petition was made by WildEarth Guardians in 2012 but the US National Marine Fisheries Service gave it a thumbs down based on the best scientific and commercial information available that the species does not warrant listing at this time. The U.S. decision continues that “We conclude that the queen conch is not currently in danger of extinction….nor is it not likely to become so within the foreseeable future.” Today, the Fisheries Department told News Five that in Belize the queen conch is not under threat and that a regime is in place to keep the conch population robust.

 

Mario Gongora, Fisheries Officer

Mario Gongora

“The Queen Conch in Belize is not in any danger. We have maintained over the past eight to ten years that the queen conch fishery of Belize is robust, is healthy and is growing. And so this is the information that we have forwarded to the United States government who had received an application for the selection of the queen conch that could be enlisted under their endangered species act. That was in March of last year. Since then, up to this date, Belize along with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism member states and other Central American states who are part of the organization, we were able to justify why the queen conch is not endangered in our regions. The petition that was made to the United States, they had a review process and they had come to a conclusion, the decision was made public and that information was forwarded to us yesterday. And so the petition is now null and void because they have found out that the information—the scientific and commercial information—does not support what the petition was actually stating. And so the queen conch throughout its distributional range including Belize is in no way threatened.”

 

Duane Moody

“Who made that petition, who made it seem like our queen conch was in danger?”

 

Mario Gongora

“WildEarth Guardians, which is a non-governmental organization based in the United States in March of 2012 had submitted the petition to the U.S Government. From the very beginning we had indicated to the US Government that the information that was originally submitted by WildEarth Guardians is information that was outdated, information that could never have been used, it was information that did not reflect the true state of affairs with respect to the status of the queen conch resource throughout its distributional range.”

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