Queen Conch fishers and exporting countries across the Caribbean can now breathe a sigh of relief because there is no chance of the United States (US) banning Queen Conch from the region.
That according to the US’ National Marine Fisheries Service, which is an arm of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, on Monday informed the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) that they have thrown out a petition by a non-governmental organization that the Queen Conch should be declared an endangered species.
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CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton tells Caribbean News Desk that the petition by the Denver. Colorado-based Wild Earth Guardians was thrown out by a 12-member panel. “After extensive study spanning a period of about two years- very comprehensive review, they have concluded that the Queen Conch is not currently in danger of extinction throught all of the significant parts of its range nor is it likely to become so in te forseeable future so it is neither threatened nor endgangered which is extremely good news for us,” he said.
He credited the US’ decision to the hard work by member-states of the CRFM. He explained that if the Queen Conch had been declared an endangered species, the Caribbean would have felt the brunt of the impact. “If it was declared an endangered speciecs there would have been automatic closure of all exports from the Caribbean countries into the US market and this would have resulted in signficant dislocation, loss of income and economic hardship for thousands of persons across the Caribbean region that depend on the Queen Conch for their livelihood as well as their food,” he said.
The CRFM boss said Wild Earth Guardians relied on outdated and in some cases inaccurate information to make its case for over-exploitation of the Queen Conch.
He noted that the initial finding by the US authorities had shown that there might have some merit in the case that was being made out by the environmental organisation.
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