Gekweekte karkó in de omheining

Queen conch research kicks off in Bonaire

World Wide Fund for Nature – Netherlands
18-MAR-2024 - The queen conch research called, 'Conquer the Future', has started in Bonaire. Thanks to joint efforts, young farmed conches 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 conches.

The Queen Conch Hatchery at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium supplies the juvenile farmed conches for the research and has made facilities available to properly prepare for transport. After the sea trip, the conches 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 conches and all animals are in good health. After the adjustment period, the farmed conches are moved into the wild where they can freely roam in the sea. The released conches are then monitored via transmitters to analyze how they behave in nature and what their survival rate is.

Adult queen conch

Joint efforts

You cannot just release small conches to strengthen the population. You also have to work with nature organizations, fishermen and the government. Permits had to be applied to transport the farmed conches by boat from Curaçao to Bonaire. A nature permit is also required to release the conches. "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 conches in the ocean. This group also ensured that the juvenile conches could be approved quickly and transported to the pen in Sorobon, so that the conches could acclimatize. Many hands make light work. Literally and figuratively", says project leader and marine biologist Michiel van Nierop.

PISKABON members and intern Claudia Tonnis are building the enclosure for the farmed queen conches

To promote cooperation in this project, an agreement was signed between FKUP, 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.

STINAPA ranger assisting with measuring the queen conches

Text: World Wildlife Fund  
Photos: Michiel van Nierop (leadphoto: farmed queen conch in an enclosure)