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May 24, 2013

2013 conch season closes 1 month earlier

The 2013 conch season, which usually expires at the end of June has been closed a month earlier.  The harvest for this year, approximately a million pounds of crustacean meat, has been realized across all five fishing cooperatives.  A notice has since been made public for fisher-folks who are still at sea, as well as consumers that the deadline for possession of conch is impending.  News Five spoke with Senior Fisheries Officer George Myvette, who told us about this year’s yield.

 

George Myvette, Senior Fisheries Officer

“The season is closed generally by two means.  The first option that we have is the regular closure of the season that would go, the open season would go from essentially October first of any given year to June thirtieth of the following year.  Over the last couple years we have introduced a quota system in the fishery in which we have an assigned quota to the various fishing cooperatives and once that quota has been realized the season is then closed.  Last year, as you gentlemen would note, I believe was closed also in May. 

George Myvette

This year similarly, the season is closed before the normal closure which means that again we’re at a juncture where the quota has been realized by the fishing cooperatives.  For us, as you would note, there are about five fishing cooperatives in Belize, the two larger ones are National Fishermen Cooperative and Northern Fishermen Cooperative.  National realized their quota about a week ago and Northern has realized its quota on Monday, this past Monday.  What we have done is that we will be making allowances twofold.  We have given the cooperatives a grace period that lasted up until yesterday to allow for boats that are in the outlying areas to return to the cooperatives to deposit the harvest.  On the second note, the general public is given a little over a week, going up to May thirty-first, 2013, to effectively dispose of whatever conch they may have in stocks.  So if, for restaurateurs, if you have conch in stock we’re essentially saying try to serve those conch before May thirty-first.  Similarly, for those Belizeans who would be taking conch out of the country to relatives we are saying you have until May thirty-first to take this out.  If you have conch in your freezer now is the time to essentially put those conch to soup and use them before May thirty-first, 2013.”

 

There is currently a push for the queen conch, which is native only to the Caribbean, to be placed on the list of endangered species, despite strong objections from fisheries authorities and industry stakeholders. This is the second consecutive year that the season has been closed early.

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2 Responses for “2013 conch season closes 1 month earlier”

  1. Bear says:

    Conch chowder! Nothing better!

  2. MCC says:

    SO WHOMAKES THAT DECISION TO BE PUT ON ENDAGERED LIST??, DOES THAT MEAN THE BELIZEAN PUBLIC WON’T BE ABLE TO ENJOY CONCH ANYMORE??THAT GOES AGAINST OUR CULTURE!!, , THEY CAN LESSEN THE AMOUNT CAUGHT, BUT NOT STOP CATCHING ALL TOGETHER??

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