[Coral-List] conch tagging

bmp marinepark at bmp.org
Mon Nov 17 16:27:29 EST 2003

Dear all,

My name is Maarten Schuit, I am manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park on Bonaire (N.A.). Currently, I am in the process of setting up a small scale project to determine growth rate and population size of the queen conch that occurs in a lagoon on the East coast of Bonaire, called Lac Bay. Lac Bay is a sandy lagoon and contains seagrass beds and is surrounded by mangroves for the greater part. It is believed to be an important nursery ground for all kinds of marine vertebrates and invertebrates.

However, due to illegal overfishing, the population of conch in Lac Bay is on the brink of collapse. Fishermen are of the opinion that this is not the case. However, the big mountains of conch shell (big old shells on the bottom, small fresh ones on the top) say it all (next to scientific surveys that have been conducted [Lott, 2001]). Also, the fishermen believe a conch can grow from 10 cm into adult conch in a couple of weeks, or at most in a couple months. However, I need to work with them, to be able successfully enforce the laws concerning conch fishery, and more important, to be able to reverse the process of decreasing population sizes.

The good part is, that the fishermen are willing to cooperate in a project involving growth rate and population size. I want, in cooperation with them, conduct a capture, mark and recapture-project. To mark them, I want to drill a little hole in the lip of the shell and place a tag. I do not want this tag to be to big or to influence it's survival chances (or as little as possible). I wondered if anyone has any suggestions to what kind of tag I should use, and where I could purchase these?

Thanks on beforehand.


Oh, and if our fishermen are right, and the conch on Bonaire do grow into adults in a couple of months, I am going to change my job and'll be sending out advertisements via this list for the sell of 'Bonaire's own special conch'! ;^)

Maarten Schuit
Manager Bonaire National Marine Park
PO Box 368
Netherlands Antilles
Tel:  599 7178444
Fax: 599  7177318

Email: marinepark at bmp.org
Homepage: www.bmp.org

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