Botuto (King Conch) of Los Roques.
Among the most attractive aspects for the visitor of the
archipelago of Los Roques are the great accumulation of Botuto (Strombus
Gigas), which have really made mountains along the shore of many
keys in Los Roques.
This evidences its
long time importance as a fishing resource.
The capture of Botuto is easy due to its tendency to form large
groups in shallow waters and its inability to escape from a
successful predator as man.
Up to the mid 80īs
the exploitation of Botuto in the archipelago was an alternate
activity, the major part was exported to Europe via Martinique
and Bonaire. However, since then there has been the concern of a
possible over exploitation of the species.
The commercial extinction of this species in other countries of
the region (The Grenadines, Puerto Rico and Florida keys) caused
a considerate increase in demand and in price, which made many
fishing units in the archipelago to dedicate themselves
exclusively to the catch of Botuto.
By 1987 the average
catch went up to 600 Conches/day/boat with the aggravating
circumstance that 87% of the captured population were very
up to date price and online reservation!
As a result in 1991
a total ban was placed on the fishing of Botuto for 3 years
which has been extended up to the present.
The majority of
fishermen have respected the ban, although the process has not
been exempt of clandestine actions and numerous seizures.
investigation has determined that Botuto population levels have
recovered but not as much as to withstand previous fishing
Now fortunately it
is possible in the archipelago to enjoy the presence of Botuto
all most anywhere now, a situation that is not common in the
rest of the Caribbean these days.
should be appreciated as a tourist attraction and thus reinforce
the protective figure of the national park.
Please do not bring
Conches back as souvenirs, when you leave Los Roques.