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#497407 - 10/29/14 07:00 PM SGA proposes the complete use of the conch
Marty Offline

Belize’s SGA proposes the complete use of the conch at regional conference

Over a million pounds of Queen Conch (Scientifically known as Strombus gigas) was harvested in 2013, and a similar amount is expected to be harvested this year in Belize. But how much of the entire conch has the potential to be used and is being used? The Belize Strombus Gigas Alliance (SGA) based in San Pedro Town is finalizing a presentation in which they are proposing the full use of the entire conch, even the parts that have been discarded for years as refuse. They are expected to make their presentation in early November at the 67th Golf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) conference in Barbados.

Conch experts Glenn Schwendinger and Dr. Dianne Lawrence will represent the Belize SGA, in which they will be presenting a proposal for authentic sustainability of the Queen Conch. According to the two SGA representatives, while under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), all parts of the conch including the flesh are allowed to be traded from country to country with the right permits. However it is a bit more challenging for the remaining parts of the conch, which includes the internal organs, shell and operculum (claw).

According to Schwendinger and Lawrence, if the conch flesh is extracted with the right tool and the conch shell is kept intact, it can fetch not less than US$1 per pound if properly marketed. In addition, parts of the conch can be used as organic food meal for poultry and other livestock. When processed, it can be used as vitamin and calcium supplements and even road/landfill materials. Schwendinger said, “We want to create extra income for the fishermen because of the delicate nature of the species and to discourage fishermen from harvesting juvenile conch. We will assist in the process by showing them how to use parts that are currently not being used and empower them, eventually creating work during the closed conch season.”

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun


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#497418 - 10/30/14 04:19 AM Re: SGA proposes the complete use of the conch [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
One day I found three little kids pulling tiny conchs (2 to 3 inch shells) out of the lagoon.

Then I noticed lots of little conch shells for sale at the vendors tables by the park. I thought there was a limit size. None of these have the holes in the shells indicating that the animal has been extracted. Is this legal?
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Harriette
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#497443 - 10/30/14 02:21 PM Re: SGA proposes the complete use of the conch [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline
It depends on what species they are. There are numerous types of conch but only some are restricted.

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#498279 - 11/24/14 05:44 PM Re: SGA proposes the complete use of the conch [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Strombus Gigas Alliance attends 67th GCFI conference in Barbados

The 67th Golf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) conference took place in Barbados from 3rd to the 7th of November. Amongst the many participants was Belize’s Strombus Gigas Alliance (SGA) who made a 16-minute presentation to the packed audience. Their presentation was made in an effort to show the top world marine life caretakers the full economic value of the entire conch, instead of just the flesh currently consumed.


Conch experts Glenn Schwendinger and Dr. Dianne Lawrence who live on Ambergris Caye, made the presentation on a two-year working document. The duo submitted the presentation to caretakers of marine life, experts and the research academia, pointing out that the fishermen of the region have not been able to capitalize on the full economic value of the Queen Conch (scientifically known as Strombus gigas). They pointed out that as it stands, under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (CITES), all parts of the conch, including the flesh are allowed to be traded from country to country with the right permits. While the conch flesh is moved from country to country with little obstacles, it is a bit more challenging for the remaining parts of the conch, which includes the internal organs, shell and operculum (claw). This, claims the Belize SGA, does not encourage the full use of the conch, thus dumping the remaining parts of the conch into the garbage that could otherwise earn the fishing industry added revenue worth millions of dollars.

Speaking about the success of the presentation, Schwedinger indicated that it was well accepted. “It was a huge success as the presentation was unanimously accepted and the feedback was excellent,” said Schwedinger. “The economic impact that the full use of the conch can have is huge and those present acknowledge that fact.” As it is, Belize’s revenue for the over 1 million pounds of conch harvested annually is approximately $11 million. But Belize SGA believes that economic impact only represents a fraction of value of the conch and they estimate that 85% to 92% of the conch is thrown away.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun


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#498641 - 12/04/14 07:16 PM Re: SGA proposes the complete use of the conch [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

SGA was represented at the 67th Annual Conference for Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) in Barbados, November 2014! The theme of the conference was on the Livelihoods of Fisher Folks.

SGA Belize made a presentation on the usages of the 85-92% waste of the Queen Conch meat harvest to provide a secondary income stream for fisher-folks. Also emphasized was the international regulations (CITES) and governmental requirements restricting trade of the derivatives (waste) yet condoning the extreme waste of a protected species.

The PowerPoint presentation titled, Sustainability of the Queen Conch Harvest is available for viewing here.


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#500009 - 01/16/15 07:06 PM Re: SGA proposes the complete use of the conch [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Learning about the Queen Conch

I was invited by Dr. Dianne Lawrence in her capacity as Operations Manager for Strombus Gigas Alliance (SGA), to attend an event at the Garifuna Restaurant and Cultural Center, which used to be the Black and White Bar. Owner Julia Martinez has done a wonderful job of changing the entire atmosphere of the building.

Little did I know we would be learning how to cook traditional conch dishes, which is right up my alley (not the cooking, but the eating). The group was lead by Dr. Sally Beisser, who is a Professor of Education at Drake University in Des Moines Iowa, USA. This is Dr. Beisser’s 9th trip to San Pedro since 2006. She described herself as the “Accidental Tourist” and 4 years ago began bringing the students down as an alternative spring break. The very first place they helped at was Holy Cross School – which was also my first volunteer gig 9 years ago :)

The 21 students all with various major degrees of study are in San Pedro on 3 different research projects focused on learning about different cultures and what they refer to as “global citizenship” There was a group going to the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site that same day.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on Tacogirl's blog!


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#519272 - 11/26/16 06:17 AM Re: SGA proposes the complete use of the conch [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Strombus Gigas Alliance represents Belize at 69th GCFI Conference in Grand Cayman

The 69th Golf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) conference took place in Grand Cayman Islands from the 6th to the 11th of November. Representing Belize at this annual conference was Strombus Gigas Alliance (SGA) a non-governmental organization from Ambergris Caye. Top world marine-life stakeholders were in attendance, and they had the opportunity to learn of the progress SGA is making with their awareness campaign. Specifically, the full economic value of the entire conch as opposed to the small amount of flesh presently consumed.

Conch is a Belizean delicacy and according to SGA’s Glenn Schwendinger and Dr. Dianne Lawrence, it is not completely utilized. During their presentation they updated the Caribbean and global fishing community on their five-year progress. They proposed a compensation initiative for fishers by using the by-products of the conch. Schwendinger says that all parts of the conch can be used, but fisher folk dump the remaining parts of the conch, not realizing that it could otherwise earn extra income.

According to Schwendinger, the presentation was successful and well-received. They had the opportunity to introduce the use of a special curl tool to extract the conch without having to break or damage the shell. “Everyone was very supportive of the idea of our plans and what we have done so far,” he said. “We met a lot of people who became very interested in this tool and at the moment we are discussing how to market it.” Schwendinger stated that manufacturing of the tool will start at the end of February 2017, and will be available for about $40. “Once this project begins and we have the tools available, we will host training sessions for different fishing associations,” said Schwendinger.

Dr. Lawrence indicated that the whole idea is to help the fishing community and the industry in general. According to her, with the conch quota being lower every year, fishers are losing. But if they can learn to use all the parts of the animal, it will be extremely beneficial for the fishermen of Ambergris and Belize. “We at SGA are here to help the fishing community, especially when they fall short of the catch limits. After they know how to make use of the other parts of the conch, then they can make up for any shortages they may experience due to the changes in the conch season every year,” said Lawrence.

Despite this being a great idea, currently a special permit is needed in order to work with the species of the Queen Conch. Once properly permitted, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (CITES), does allow for the trade of not just the flesh of the Queen Conch but also its parts. However, it is a bit more challenging for the remaining of the parts of the conch. Another obstacle for the project to fully be implemented regionally is the fact the U.S-based Non-Governmental Organization Wild Earth Guardians petitioned the U.S Government to list the Queen Conch as an endangered species.

Due to this fact, the progress of SGA has been a bit challenging. According to Schwendinger, CITES is not against the use of the by-products. “One just has to do the paperwork to anecdote the by-products of the animal,” he said. But the other hurdle is that the process for that particular paper work (other parts of the conch) can take up to four years to be approved. Schwendinger stated that for the meantime, the project involving the by- products of the conch can be executed in Belize only.

Annually, Belize’s conch harvest yields approximately $11 million in revenue. SGA believes that figure could be higher with the additional income from the conch’s by-products. Some of the side products include conch shell jewellery, which can range from necklaces to beautiful pearl ornaments. The shell can be ground and converted into calcium supplements. They can even be used or as land fill and a solid block known as ‘conch-crete.’ Furthermore, parts of the animal’s internal organs can be consumed for the production of enzymes, and certain parts of its gut can be dried and turned in to fish fertilizer.

For more information on the SGA and their projects visit their site at www.sgainternational.org or via email at sgabelize@yahoo.com.



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