Queen conch research kicks off in Bonaire

The queen conch research, called ‘Conquer the Future’, started in Bonaire. Thanks to joint efforts, young farmed conchs were shipped by boat from Curaçao to Bonaire. These snails are released into the sea in Sorobon with the aim of strengthening the natural population of conchs.


Project Overview

The Queen Conch Hatchery at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium supplies the juvenile farmed conchs for the research and has made facilities available to properly prepare the transport. After the sea trip, the conchs first end up in a pen in the seagrass field at Sorobon so that they can acclimatize in a safe environment. It was a bit worrying when the oil spill occurred on Bonaire, but fortunately there were hardly any oil residues near the pen. The oil spill had no impact on the young conchs and all animals are in good health. After the adjustment period, the farmed conchs are moved into the wild where they can move freely in the sea.The released farmed conchs are then monitored via transmitters to analyze how they behave in nature and their survival rate.

FKUP arranging the transport of the conchs from Curaçao to Bonaire

Joint efforts

You cannot release small conchs on your own to strengthen the population. You also have to work with nature organizations, fishermen and the government. Permits had to be applied for to transport the farmed conchs by boat from Curaçao to Bonaire. A nature permit is also required to release the conchs. Fisheries cooperative “Federashon Kooperativanan Uni di Produkshon (FKUP) coordinated the trip to Bonaire. Before their arrival, a team consisting of members of the fisheries cooperative PISKABON and intern Claudia Tonnis built and installed the fence. STINAPA rangers supported the intern with releasing the conchs in the ocean. This group also ensured that the juvenile conchs could be approved quickly and transported to the pen in Sorobon, so that the conchs could acclimatize. Many hands make light work. Literally and figuratively,” says project leader and marine biologist Michiel van Nierop.

PISKABON members and intern Claudia building the pen

STINAPA ranger assisting with measuring the conchs

To promote cooperation in this project, an agreement was signed between FKUP and PISKABON, STINAPA and the World Wide Fund for Nature – Netherlands (WWF-NL). STINAPA is responsible for the supervision of the project. ‘Conquer the Future’ receives financial support from WWF-NL and Seacology.

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