December 2, 2020

Cayman Islands 2017 conch and whelk season opens

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The Department of Environment (DoE) wishes to remind the public that the conch and whelk season opens on 1 November.  Anyone going out on the water this weekend should know the limits and not be tempted to poach.  It is also still lobster closed-season.

“The open season for conch and whelk is designed to give people a chance to recreationally harvest these marine gastropods in a sustainable way,” said DoE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell. “Our goal is a sustainable recreational fishery for both of these species, not just this November, but for many years in the future as well.”

During the open season for conch and whelks, from 1 November to 30 April, it is legal to take conch and whelks from waters, but only within the legal possession limits.

·         Conch

o   Five per person, or 10 per boat, per day, whichever is less.

o   Only Queen conch (S. gigas) may be taken.

o   In any one day, no person may take, or permit another person to take, purchase, receive, offer for sale, or possess more than five conch from Cayman waters.

·         Whelks

o   Two-and-a-half gallons in the shell, or two-and-a-half pounds of processed whelks, per person, per day.

o   No one may purchase or receive more than two-and-a-half gallons in the shell, or two-and-a-half pounds of processed whelks from Cayman waters, per day.

o   Chitons, periwinkles and bleeding teeth may not be taken at any time.

o   Echinoderms (including starfish, sea eggs/urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars) may not be taken from Cayman Islands waters at any time.


We strongly urge persons not to support poaching,” Mr. Bothwell added. “Don’t buy conch or whelk from people who are over the limit during the open season. And remember that lobster season is still closed. Poaching is a crime and should be reported to authorities.”

Persons who suspect poaching of conch or whelk or lobster can call 911, or DoE enforcement officers directly:

•         : 916-4271

•         Cayman Brac: 926-0136

•         : 916-7021

For more information on all of the closed seasons and other conservation rules, persons may contact the DoE on 949-8649 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, you can download the DoE app to your Apple or Android smartphone,



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