FOR THE LOVE OF CONCH
This 25 minute educational documentary will show how this colorful mollusk is the jewel of the Bahamas archipelago. The film will depict how this creature has become an endangered species in the wider Caribbean due to over harvesting. For the Love of Conch will reveal the unique life story of the beautiful Queen Conch and show the basic biology, reproduction, and behavior of this age-old creature found in 16 Caribbean nations.
We will feature various behaviors of conch and its ability to find other conch using their eyestalks and leaping with its foot on the sea bottom. We see how an adult female lays up to half a million eggs in camouflage egg mass strands on the sandy bottom several times per year. Using micro-videography we enable the observer to see hatching of the conch eggs and movement of conch in their swimming larval stage. We will see its metamorphosis from wing lobed veliger larvae into their bottom dwelling stage using time-lapse animation. Even as adults their hard shells still become prey by sharks, turtles, other mollusks, but the conch are mostly taken by humans. In fact, conch have become the most popular seafood among Bahamians, who normally eat conch at least once a week. Over many decades this popular seafood has now led to its overconsumption. Our story will show how the threats to the survival of conch in the Bahamas include over harvest, taking of juveniles, unregulated fishing, loss of habitat, and difficulty of enforcement of fishery regulations.
All this has resulted in more scarcity of conch and increased fishing efforts in deeper waters, which is now jeopardizing conch’s survival as a species in the wider Caribbean. The film will cite conservation efforts by various organizations throughout the Bahamas and the creation of Marine Protected Areas by seeding conch larvae in protected zones that ensure a healthy reproductive rates. However, other solutions to protect conch are needed such as specific closed fishing seasons, habitat protection zones, enforcement of export regulations, and outlawing conch fishing with the use of scuba or compressors.
We will document statements from government officials how The Royal Bahamas Defense Force patrol boats have been unable to control poaching of many thousands of conch because of the immense areas among hundreds of islands. Currently, foreign fishing fleets from Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Cuba illegally taking the conch in Bahamian waters by their illegal fishing methods. Using air compressors that allow divers to catch and crack conch on the sea bottom by the thousands are destroying entire conch beds. Cooperation by the whole country is now needed to save the conch from extinction.
For the Love of Conch will be released next year to hundreds of schools and communities across the Bahamas as was accomplished in cooperation with the Bahamas National Trust and the Ministry of Education of our last documentary, Islands of Life.
For the Love of Conch will also be seen nationwide with ZNS broadcasts that will part of a prolonged conch-servation campaign to preserve the conch for future generations.