The queen conch (Strombus gigas) is a sea mollusc or shellfish, whose shell can attain 30 cm in length and weigh up to three kilos. Queen conch is traded for its meat and shell, found throughout the Caribbean and is listed in Appendix II. This section of the website serves to compile information about queen conch related activities under CITES.
History: Uncontrolled harvesting and increased demand for Queen Conch resulted in its overfishing, illegal landings and a rapid decline in numbers. About 70% of all internationally traded meat is consumed in the United States. Queen Conch was included in CITES in November 1992. After extensive reviews of scientific and management information, CITES proposed a range of actions in the mid-nineties and again in 2003-05 to improve the sustainability and legality of the trade. These were favourably acted upon by most of the 36 Caribbean countries and dependent territories where queen conch occurs. Measures included export quotas, (temporary) trade suspensions, harmonized fishery rules and better trade controls. Regional Fisheries Organizations fully supported these efforts through workshops, technical publications (such as a Manual for the monitoring and management of queen conch), training seminars, facilitation of regional collaboration, etc. They resulted in funding and technical support, targeted research efforts, and an improved understanding of the ecology and management of the species.
The inclusion of queen conch in CITES has prompted numerous collaborative initiatives to promote its recovery, reduce overfishing and ensure legal, sustainable trade. Particularly since the 2000-reviews, CITES also acted as a catalyst for international cooperation and regional coordination of queen conch management and utilization. Queen conch remains one of the most important fishery resources in the Wider Caribbean Region, and is slowly but surely making a comeback. Caribbean range States acknowledge the need to further support and build capacity for making robust Non Detriment Findings, improve enforcement of fisheries management and trade provisions, and enhance regional approaches towards sustainable use of and trade in queen conch.