Today is a pretty big deal in Belize. But, why...?
The Belize conch season opens today, October 1st, 2019.
Every year the Belize Fisheries Department announces to the general public, especially commercial fishermen fishing for the Queen Conch (Strombus gigas), is closed for the season and open for the season.
1. Conch Season In Belize
Belize Conch season official closes on June 30th and opens on October 1st, every year.
If the quota is reached before June 30th, the season will close early, such as this year 2019, where the season was closed from April 30th.
2. Laws That Govern Conch Season In Belize
The law that controls the conch season in Belize is Statutory Instrument No. 54 of 2012. The current Minister and Ministry of Cabinet in charge is the Honorable Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development.
Any person or food operating business found in possession of the Queen Conch meat after April 30th, 2019 will be charged and prosecuted in a Court of Law in Belize in accordance with the Fisheries Regulations.
So, if you are visiting Belize and a restaurant is serving conch outside the season, it is probably a good idea you don't order that dish.
3. Why does Belize have an open and close conch season?
This is necessary due to the realization of the Queen Conch quota. This is calculated by the Belize Fisheries Department.
4. What exactly is a Queen Conch?
Conch (/kɒŋk, kɒntʃ/) is a common name applied to a number of different medium to large-sized shells. The term generally applies to large snails whose shell has a high spire and a noticeable siphonal canal (in other words, the shell comes to a noticeable point at both ends).
Queen conchs are valued for seafood all over the world and are very popular in the Caribbean and Belize.
5. Popular Conch Dishes in Belize
Conch Fritters: is a seafood dish made from conch meat, mixed with different ingredients in cornmeal and fried to a crisp, making for a very tasty snack. Here is a very popular Belizean recipe for conch fritters (video embedded below as well)
What are your favorite conch dishes? Don't worry, just about every restaurant in Placencia Village will have conch dishes that will pleasure your taste buds.