Volume 72

Development of a Fishermen Operated Pilot-Scale Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas) Hatchery and Nursery Facility for Sustainable Seafood Supply and Restoration of Wild Populations in Puerto Rico

Davis, M; R. Espinoza
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 322-324

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The queen conch Lobatus gigas is an important fisheries species in the Caribbean that has been overfished. In the U.S. Caribbean, The Queen Conch Resources Fishery Management Plan established a program to help rebuild conch populations in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The majority of the conch “Carrucho” fished in Puerto Rico are consumed locally with little export. With the decline in conch populations in Puerto Rico’s state and federal waters, closed seasons, and disruption of conch habitats from hurricanes such as Maria, conch is a prime candidate to be cultured in a pilot-scale hatchery in Puerto Rico. The goal of the 2-yr project (S-K NOAA Award NA10NMF4270029) is to assist with restoration of queen conch fisheries in Puerto Rico by producing conch in a fishermen-operated conch aquaculture facility. The conch hatchery is being built at the Fishermen’s Association in Naguabo, PR. The first hatchery season will be the summer of 2020. Hatchery-reared juvenile conch will be released into the Luis Peña Channel Natural Reserve no take MPA near Isla de Culebra. The hatchery will be open to fishermen, community, students and visitors to learn about conch aquaculture, biology, conservation and fisheries. A live webcam will broadcast hatchery activities and a conch aquaculture Spanish training manual will be completed. This project will serve as a model, which can be transferred to other fishing communities in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. The project will aid sustainable fisheries practices through aquaculture by working with the fishermen, using the commercial Fishermen’s Association’s working waterfront, helping provide diversified incomes for the fishery communities, promoting aquaculture practices, and ensuring the conch population is available for future fishing and food security through aquaculture and restoration.

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