Published in Exuma Cays Expedition 2011, Ragged Island/Jumento Cays 2013, Uncategorized
We now have two new and interesting documents to share with you! Community Conch wrapped up reporting on our fifth conch survey season in the Jumento Cays and Ragged Islands, and we’ve added another publication of significant fishery management value. Click here to download the docs.
The first is the final report on the survey work we completed last summer in Jumento Cays and Ragged Islands. Given that we did find considerably healthier populations of conch in these southern Bahamian islands, it makes for a more uplifting read that our previous reports. Though we are glad to see the numbers are higher in these hard to fish areas, we still offers some precautionary management recommendations.
We have also recently had a paper published in the Journal of Shellfish Research on a study conducted by Dr. Stoner and our colleague Karl Mueller. Data was collected during the Exuma Cays expedition in 2011 to study the relationship between operculum dimensions and shell lip thickness. As we all know by now (right?!), lip thickness is an indicator of the age of a conch and the sexual maturity of the animal. As it turns out, checking the operculum might also be a good indicator too. The significance of this study lies in its potential usefulness to fishery managers. A major issue with enforcement of current fishery laws is the fact that most shells are discarded at sea and therefore the shells are never seen at landing docks. So, its impossible to tell whether the conch had a flared lip, much less what the lip thickness of the shell was. If fishers were required to land cleaned conchs with the operculum in tact, fishery officers would have an alternative way to determine if the animal was indeed legally harvested. Plus, fishers would not have to weigh their boats down with heavy shells which has been noted by some as a real hazard at sea. Now, quick! Find out what an operculum is!