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CITES and FAO join forces to conserve queen conch

cites_fao_queen_conchFrom Caribbean News Now

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The FAO Subregional Office for the Caribbean and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) have approved a project for joint capacity building for the implementation of decisions on regional cooperation on the management and trade of queen conch (Strombus gigas). These decisions were adopted at the 16th meeting of the conference of parties to CITES in 2013.

The US$90,000 project was signed in July by both parties and aims to contribute to the conservation, responsible management and sustainable, legal trade of queen conch in the Caribbean region.

The project will support the ongoing efforts of the working group on queen conch, which is made up of the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC), Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), Central America Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization (OSPESCA) and Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

Over the period August 2014 – May 2015 the project objectives will be to:

  • Increase understanding and capacity building among the WECAFC membership on methods to determine whether there would be a detrimental impact of the export of queen conch, and the delivery of associated capacity building tools;
  • Create a final draft regional plan for the conservation and management of queen conch;
  • Gain regional consensus on conversion factors of queen conch at different processing grades of meat and its derivates such as pearls, shells and opercula, which will standardize reporting on conch catches;
  • Create reports to the CITES Animals Committee (for its meeting in March 2015), WECAFC/FAO. CRFM, CFMC, OSPESCA, SPAW, and queen conch range states.

In close coordination with the CFMC convener of the working group, Miguel Rolon, and the members and other partners of the working group, three experts are preparing their analyses and draft products. These will be discussed and reviewed at the second meeting of the queen conch working group, which is scheduled to take place in Panama City, 18-20 November 2014, to which regional fisheries and CITES authorities will be invited.

FAO and CITES encourage all queen conch range states to join in this regional effort to ensure queen conch fisheries and trade takes place in a sustainable manner.

IMAGE: Regional fisheries officials agree a joint approach on queen conch

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