Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

The Conch in Exuma


Conch in Exuma is declining in numbers. Gone are the days when going for a swim meant taking care not to tread on these plentiful creatures, now it is a rarity to see a live conch.

Yes the demand has outstripped the supply and conservation is needed to protect the conch for future generations.

Conch become sexually mature by their third year when the lip on the shell grows. Then the female will lay upwards of a half million eggs in a gelatinous string. The eggs hatch in a few days and the juveniles bear no resemblance to a conch as we know it. After around 20 days they metamorphoses to the familiar shape and then they grow quickly to maturity in two years.

The life span of a conch varies according to whether it stays in shallow water, where it will live for around seven years, or if in deep water where it will live for 20 to 30 years.

Conch in Exuma

Queen Conch

For centuries the  Conch has been part of the staple diet on the people of Exuma. It is the one item you can guarantee is on the menu of almost every restaurant today.The older generation of Bahamians will tell you that as children their parents would tell them to run down to the beach and pick up some conch for their days meal.  That you had to be careful when going in the Ocean because the conch were everywhere and it hurt if you stepped on one.

The Queen Conch is found on the tropical shores of the North West Atlantic, through the Caribbean and as far South as Brazil. Conch can grow as large as 13 inch across and live for around five years in shallow water and much longer for those in deep water.

Like all members of the snail family, they have eyes on antenna, and if they loose one to a predator they will regrow the missing limb. Females lay eggs, from 180,000 to 400,000 in a gelatinus string that lays in grass or on sand until the larva hatch. Females will lay eggs eight or nine times a year  between March and October.As young the conch stay buried for the first year.

Conch are under threat from over fishing and also by acidification caused by global warming. Some nations have introduced either a closed season or quota limits.