In the Caribbean, queen conches are living on the edge

The queen conch is a large marine mollusk with a beautiful shell that is prized for export. The gastropod inside the shell is featured on menus across the Caribbean. But the conch’s numbers are rapidly dwindling, and researchers say action is needed to save them.

In Key West, Florida, known locally as the capital of the Conch Republic, the locals eat conches in a multitude of forms: cracked conch, conch chowder, conch fritters, conch salad, conch and rice. People come out in droves to compete in the annual Conch Honk. As beloved as it is, however, the conch fishery in the Florida Keys has actually been closed since 1975. So, all of the conch enjoyed in the Conch Republic has to be imported, mostly from the Bahamas.

In the Bahamas, the mollusk is also a critical component of the local diet…

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