(CNS): As the conch and whelk season opened this week, officials from the Department of Environment urged people not to support poaching and abide by the catch regulations to help preserve stocks. DoE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell explained why the limits are important even during open season. “Only responsible consumption of these species can ensure their existence for future generations,” he said. “We urge persons to not support poaching. Don’t buy from individuals who have taken more than the daily limit. It is a crime and should be reported to authorities.”
While it is illegal to take or buy any conch or whelks from local waters between May and October from 1 November until the end of April people can legally fish for conchs and whelks but there are strict limits.
Only queen conch (Strombus gigas) can be taken, limited to either five conch per person or 10 per boat with two or more people aboard. Up to 2.5 gallons of whelks in their shells or 2.5 pounds of processed whelks are permitted per person per day. The chiton, periwinkle and bleeding teeth species cannot be taken at any time.
Members of the public who wish to report suspected poaching or poachers can call 911, or DoE enforcement officers directly. For Grand Cayman call 916-4271, On Cayman Brac call 926-0136, and on Little Cayman call 916-7021.
For more information on conch and whelk seasons, contact the DoE on 949-8649 or email [email protected]