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While we celebrate the end of the lobster ban, which officially ended on June 30th, we alert you to forego the purchase, sell, and consumption of conch. From July 1st through the 31st of October, various species of conch, mainly the queen conch, while also including the mulefoot conch, the Santa María conch, and various others are now prohibited from being picked, sold, purchased or eaten in the Dominican Republic.
29 years ago at the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), the country signed an agreement to protect a number of species from being captured during this time period and it bans the sale and consumption of them so that they’re allowed to reproduce. Since we live in the Caribbean and, for the most part, all enjoy seafood, we want to be able to continue eating conch for years to come!
All supermarkets, restaurants and fisheries are obliged by CODOPESCA (Dominican Council of Fishing and Aquaculture) to abstain from hunting, purchasing, selling or serving these species and to report what they have in stock within the first 10 business days of the start of the ban (July 10th). Once CODOPESCA has verified and reported what the restaurants have in stock, they have 20 days to consume, sell or discard them. This means that today, July 11th, there’s only a little more time before restaurants, supermarkets or fisheries should stop selling or serving conch. It is not only illegal, but it is also what is ethically right! Those who break the ban will be subject to legal penalties and fines.
Many restaurants here in Casa de Campo obey this ban and have removed Conch from their menu! (HORRAY!) We hope that everyone assumes the level of commitment and responsibility to protecting Conch. Businesses are not the only ones with the power to make a difference — You can too! By abstaining from ordering, purchasing or eating conch in establishments that are breaking the closed season ban, you are helping our marine ecosystems reproduce. If you visit an establishment that is breaking the ban, we encourage you to take action and do one of two things:
- Report it on social media using #seashame ! Reef Check DR, a local organization promoting the conservation of our marine ecosystems is managing a social media campaign whereby establishments or individuals breaking the ban are placed on a public “Wall of Sea Shame”!
- Take a picture and contact FUNDEMAR! They will help formally put in a claim that the establishment is infringing on the closed season regulations. (809) 833-0481 or email email@example.com.
We encourage everyone to do their part and support this ban. Ultimately, its the responsibility of each and every one of us to protect the conches so that they can reproduce and we can have delicious, fresh conch for years to come. What’s a few months without eating conch anyways?
When: July 1st until the 31st of October
What: Various species of conch, mainly the queen conch, while also including the mulefoot conch, the Santa María conch, and various others are now prohibited from being hunted in the Dominican Republic. No consumption or marketing of Conch.
Not only does the ban contribute to preserving the species, but it also helps to improve it’s quality for exports.
Anyone that is found disrespecting the ban could be fined up to US$50,000 as well as jail sentences of up to 10 years.
So please remember not to fish or buy conch in any of the seafood centers, restaurants or beaches as a way of protecting them.
* Featured image by hopefulistinlatinamerica.blogspot.com