The fish pictured above illustrate the progress of the fin fish broodstock development at the Caicos Conch Farm, reared to supply eggs for the hatchery
The Conch Farm, which reportedly has an agreement with the TCI government to raise fin fish, has now made it known that they have been successful in demonstrating their capabilities.
The farm has released photos of fish they have bred and nurtured. This activity is continuing while a law suit is pending against current Governor Ric Todd, who has reportedly stalled the agreement. The agreement was signed by former Governor Gordon Wetherell and it is not known why Todd has not agreed to allow the development to go forward.
Trade Wind Industries (TWI), which owns and runs the farm located on Leeward Going Through, claims it will employ at least 75 local workers if the agreement is honoured.
TWI has recently offered to the TCI government to drop the law suit if the agreement is honoured. This puts the current Progressive National Party (PNP) administration and the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) opposition in the position of having to take a stand on the development, which they have not yet done.
The law suit asks for damages of $100 million due to lost revenue and damage caused to the farm’s juvenile conch when dredging was permitted to facilitate a nearby upscale megayacht marina during the previous PNP administration. The hotel, known as Nkiki Beach, which is connected financially to the marina, went bankrupt shortly after opening and is only recently being refinanced, as is the marina. Large private yachts are now seen tied up at the marina.
The channel has a reported natural depth of 15 feet and the previous destructive dredging has already filled in. The dredging has also been observed to have had a negative effect on nearby reefs, which are the home of numerous marine creatures. The government has also now allowed a long line fishing experiment to go forward. This has been condemned by environmentalists and some local fishermen as destructive to fish stocks.
The Conch Farm fin fish farming could supply local hotels, retail outlets and be the source of fish exports to the USA and other locations.