Queen Conch

Queen Conch Anguilla
Stuart Wynne 8th November 2017 No Comments

The Queen Conch (recently reclassified from Strombus gigas to Lobatus gigas) is one of the largest gastropods in the Caribbean, and by far the most delicious. It forms extensive fisheries throughout the region, and is so heavily exploited that despite still common is listed under Appendix II of CITES which “includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival”. One things I am fascinated by, is how their eyes look so sentient, and as in the picture here, this leads me to questioning my food order when almost about to order cracked conch, conch stew, conch fritters, or conch ceviche (to name a few of my favourites). There really is a person in there!

In Anguilla, where there are only limited shallow water habitats for the conch fishery to utilise, their numbers are not what they used to, with huge conch middens in Sandy Ground testament to their popularity. Luckily, conch do not only live in shallow areas, extending their range well below safe diving limits (conch are harvested using SCUBA equipment), so their future should remain secure. Still, some shallow water areas should ideally remain off-limits, as Queen Conch breeding grounds are often in very accessible seagrass beds such as those found around Scilly Cay. But responsible fishing needs to go hand-in-hand with responsible eating, and I now only allow myself the odd conch treat so that I feel I am doing my bit. Supporting local fishers, but with a bit of respect for the creature that sustains it.

Originally posted on Instagram @sea_anguilla with the text: Hello there, whatcha looking at? It’s fascinating how this amazing mollusc can appear so sentient. I swear it was watching me swim around while taking photos of it. There is a person in there for sure! With eyes like that it puts cracked conch into a whole new perspective!

Leave a Reply