Many SGA projects in Belize are under development and/or study for the feasibility. Our projects are multi-faceted yet fit into three categories; use of wasted by-products of the conch meat harvest, cleaning the conch habitat and supporting options for the sustainability of the Queen Conch.

A) BY-PRODUCT COLLECTION (from the meat harvest)

For the collection of by-products we are studying our supply chain, with fisher folks in three towns, for freshness and quality control without interfering with the conch meat harvest. We are also working with a business entity as a marketing partner to use these by-products in innovative culinary and artisanal uses.

i) Operculum (foot) of the conch – new markets in art and jewelry to employ artisans

ii) Pistol (enzyme rod) – food label testing as a food delicacy and possibly food additive, recipe creation and taste testing

iii) Dirty Meat - future plans include collecting the ‘dirty meat’ for drying and manufacturing as a type of ‘fish’ fertilizer

iv) Shells – employ fisher communities to collect and clean the shells of freshly harvested Queen Conch, employ artisans for shell art and shell jewelry, and possibly assist Ministry of Fisheries with data collection

To assist the fisher folks with removing the conch meat without breaking (or knocking) the shell, we have been exploring the use of a meat extraction tool. We have found the prototype, developed in the Turks and Caicos, and are now working with three manufacturers who have re-designed the tool to our specifications for use with shells of various sizes and shapes. We hope to share this tool with conch fishers throughout Belize and eventually with fisher folk in the Bahamas.


In Belize, the approved harvest method for conch meat has been to take the meat and toss the shell and all (by-products) overboard, into the sea. Unfortunately, this method has shrunk the existing Queen Conch habitat. Like people, even conch do not want to live in a cemetery. The conch like to live in warm, shallow waters however, the littering of conch shells on sea floor has driven live Queen Conch to deeper waters. If the wasted conch shells created reef, or added to our spectacular Meso-American Reef, this project would not be necessary. Conch shells do not biodegrade nor do they create reef. The shell discards from the past 40 years of queen conch harvest are evident in mounds (middens) under the sea.

i) Mapping underwater conch shell mounds (middens) with a GPS

ii) Remove middens to clean the conch habitat and employ fisher folk in off-season

iii) Locate a ‘home’ for shell dwelling animals (hermit crabs, baby octopus and the like)

iv) Employ fisher communities to crush midden shells for fill, aggregate and possible value-added products

v) Design, develop and test simple machines that can be replicated in any island nation (midden shell crusher, screening sets for size-sorting of crushed shells, waste meat drying racks)

Our habitat clean-up project is still in the formulation stages. We look forward to the opportunity to meeting with the Ministry of Fisheries and related organizations. We believe that something MORE has to be done. Efforts towards conservation and sustainable fishing (harvest) leave our fisher folk seeing shrinking habitats, shorter fishing seasons and lower catch quotas BUT the regulations to date do not address habitat clean-up. Like the forestry industry in North America had to encourage re-planting, SGA believes we need to clean-up the habitat and encourage the Queen Conch to return to their preferred habitat, warm shallow waters.

C) SGA FOR SUSTAINABILITY (of the Queen Conch)

Strombus Gigas Alliance (SGA) is a relatively new organization (NGO status pending) aiming to save the Queen Conch. We seek to improve the sustainability of Queen Conch in the Caribbean. Belize, and other conch harvesting nations, has a cultural heritage of using the whole animal; the meat for food, the shell for decoration and aggregate, the pistol for folkloric virility, and the operculum for jewelry. It is time to stop the waste of the harvest, and re-visit the multiple uses of the by-products. Formally, there are many alliances we would like to establish and nurture in order to stop the waste.

i) Develop affiliations and partnerships with Fisheries Departments, marine organizations and conservation associations (CRFM, Oceana, ACP Fish III, Sustainable Fisheries Groups, Fishermen’s Co-ops, etc.).

ii) Align SGA for representing Belize, Bahamas and other Caribbean nations at the 2016 CITES Convention in South Africa with the goal to remove the (wasted) by-products and derivatives of the conch harvest from governance under CITES

iii) Expand SGA to other conch harvesting nations (Jamaica & Barbados)

iv) Prevent the Appendix I CITES Petition as proposed by an NGO in the USA which would shut down of the Queen Conch harvest for the whole Caribbean.

Visit this website regularly and see the updates to our PROJECTS page as they happen.

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