The National Fisheries Authority, an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries is advising fisherfolk, traders and the public at large that the Conch Close Season remains in effect and continues until March 31.
During this time, it is illegal to catch, sell or process any conch meat.
Conch meat which has been previously declared must remain in cold storage until the season officially re-opens.
By way of Ministerial Order, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw declared a Close Season for queen conch (Genus Strombus) for the period February 1 to March 31.
During the period of the close season, it shall be illegal for any person to catch queen conch and/or harvest any conch products (that is, conch shell and conch opercula).
Any person found in possession of conch meat and/or conch opercula for commercial purposes including, but not limited to, fishers, vendors, middlemen, wholesalers, cold storage facility operators, stores operators at hotels and restaurants, cook shop operators, all operators of eating establishments and jewellery establishments and any other establishments in possession of conch opercula for commercial purposes should have declared this effective March 28.
The Ministry is appealing to and warning against breaches of the regulations and urges stakeholders to help to safeguard the livelihood of thousands of Jamaicans involved in the conch industry.