Conch and whelk season opens Nov. 1 in the Cayman Islands. Those interested in fishing these marine gastropods should adhere to legal limits to avoid poaching, the Department of Environment advised.
Lobster season remains closed until Dec. 1.
Queen conch and certain species of whelk can legally be taken from Cayman Islands waters from Nov. 1 to April 30 within legal limits. Daily conch fishing is limited to five per person or 10 per boat, depending on which is fewer. No more than five conch from the Cayman Islands can be purchased, received, sold or possessed in a day.
Whelk is limited to two-and-a-half gallons in the shell or two-and-a-half pounds of processed whelks per person, per day. No one may purchase or receive more than this limit of processed whelks from Cayman in a day.
Chitons, periwinkles and bleeding teeth whelks may not be taken. Echinoderms, including starfish, sea eggs and urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars are never permitted for removal from Cayman waters.
DoE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell said the open season for conch and whelk is aimed at providing a chance for recreational and sustainable harvest.
“Our goal is a sustainable, recreational fishery for both of these species, not just this November, but for many years in the future as well,” Mr. Bothwell said.
“Don’t buy conch or whelk from people who are over the limit during the open season. And remember that lobster season is still closed. Poaching is a crime and should be reported to authorities.”
Suspected poaching of conch, whelk or lobster can be reported by calling 911 or contacting the DoE at 916-4271 in Grand Cayman, 926-0136 in Cayman Brac and 916-7021 in Little Cayman.