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Will the conch season in Belize have to be shortened? Might we need to control the amount of conch that we eat year per year? These are a couple of questions that Belize, including other Caribbean nations, might have to consider as Caribbean ministers will come together to discuss a conch petition for CARICOM during Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2012 in Antigua and Barbuda.

A United States petition submitted this March to list the Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) as a threatened or endangered species will be a priority item on the agenda of the upcoming 3rd Special Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

Over fishing of the Queen Conch might be posing a problem to the survival of the species and such petition could limit our consumption of conch if the animal becomes labeled as threatened and endangered.

The Queen Conch is a delicacy in Belize and its meat is highly demanded in dishes which include ceviche, conch fritters, conch soup, conch chowder, conch burgers, conch steak, conch bits and BBQ conch. Even if it means eating a little less conch for the season, protecting the specie and extending the closed season for it to procreate, might be the best action to take in order for us to enjoy all things conch for years to come.

Other topics in the agenda include the status of the implementation of a common fisheries policy for CARICOM, and the joint action plan and Belize Declaration signed this September in the historic joint meeting of Central American and Caribbean fisheries Ministers.

The special forum, to be chaired by The Bahamas, is being held to coincide with the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, which will be observed from October 14 to 20, under the theme: “Celebrating Youth and Gender in Caribbean Agriculture – Each Endeavoring, All Achieving.”

Seventeen Ministers from across the Caribbean are expected to converge at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, for the meeting slated for Thursday, October 18, 2012.

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