The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Environmental and Marine Affairs recently announced serious concern for the dwindling supply of Caribbean Queen Conch throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Caicos Conch Farm on Providenciales has been responsible historically for returning millions of baby conch annually to the waters of the TCI when the animals are culled during their various stages of growth and development.
In the past 29 years the Caicos Conch Farm has released tens of millions of baby conch back into the Turks and Caicos Islands environment. Those baby conchs have grown, multiplied and substantially expanded the wild conch population and subsequent harvest in the TCI.
However, the Caicos Conch Farm is now severely threatened by the actions of former Governor Ric Todd and the continued actions of Attorney General Huw Shepheard, who have openly refused to honour the terms and conditions of the 2010 Development Agreement that governs the operation of the Caicos Conch Farm.
The unethical and persistent refusal of former Governor Ric Todd and Attorney General Huw Shepheard to honour the terms and conditions of the 2010 Development Agreement have not only prompted the termination of $15 million of investor financing for the renovation of the Caicos Conch Farm, but has also prompted the loss of 50 to 75 construction jobs required to renovate the Conch Farm over a period of 12 to 14 months and the elimination of 75 new jobs earmarked for Belongers in commercial fish farming, sea food processing, professional boat captains and scuba divers with technical qualifications.
The unethical actions of Ric Todd and Huw Shepheard have effectively obstructed the operation of the Caicos Conch Farm and hindered the Farm’s ability to annually contribute millions of post-larval Caribbean Queen Conch juveniles to the wild.
The Caribbean Queen Conch is in critical decline everywhere. The strength of the wild conch resource in the Turks and Caicos Islands has remained strong in the past because the Caicos Conch Farm has supplemented the wild stocks of conch by generously releasing millions of juveniles annually from the Caicos Conch Farm hatchery.
Without the survival and contributions of the Caicos Conch Farm, the Caribbean Queen Conch resource in the Turks and Caicos Islands is doomed and will not survive to grow and regenerate itself.
Surely, these two parties must become adult enough to place the future of what our most predominant national treasure is first and reach some sort of mutual aggreement placing greed and personal venue's aside.
Conch has always been a national treasure and a food staple of my adopted country for as long as I can remember. It has fed millions of tourists that have become our leading economical factor and that too needs to be protected.
Wake up before its too late and find an amiable solution to this problem.