Volume 68

Portrait of the Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas) in Puerto Rico During 1998 – 2013

Matos-Caraballo, D., M. Ricaurte-Chica, J. León, L.A. Rivera, L.T. Vargas, M. Soto, and W.G. Santiago
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Date: November, 2015

Pages: 373 - 378

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty eigth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Panama City

Country: Panama


The Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas) has been a very important fishery in Puerto Rico since 1980s. Since the middle of 1980’s the SCUBA divers fishers shown an increase in their number of active fishers and pounds landed. Currently they are most of the full time commercial fishers. The SCUBA divers primary target is the queen conch and lobsters, thus both species have been in the top five landed in Puerto Rico since 1988. The mentioned facts resulted in large fishing pressure on the queen conch. The Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) has the responsibility of manage the fisheries resources in the Island. The DNER Commercial Fisheries Statistics Program (CFSP) has been collected landings, biostatistical and census data from commercial fisheries since 1968. During 1998 - 2013, an average of 201,325 pounds/year was reported in Puerto Rico by commercial fishers. The wholesale price represented an average of $681,173 yearly. The retail sales of queen conch would be estimated in an average of $2,000,000 million/year. The fishing pressure resulted in an overfishing resource. The DNER and NOAA fisheries established fishing measures to avoid the collapse of the fishery. Closed season was established for all Puerto Rico in 1996. Later since 2005, NOAA Fisheries established a total closure of queen conch on the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (9 - 200 nautical miles) around the Island. Currently the fishery of queen conch is limited at the Puerto Rico’s territorial waters. This paper will show the landings (pounds), effort, price and marketing of queen conch during 1998 - 2013.

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