Blue BioTrade project supports St. Lucia conch Study
30 November , 2021
The European Union funded Blue BioTrade Project is seeking to validate a draft country case study titled “Blue BioTrade in St. Lucia: Developing value for the sustainable trade and production of queen conch in the Caribbean” as part of the efforts towards advancing sustainable blue economy and sustainable livelihoods.
Earlier this month, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) held an event here in cooperation with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the St Lucia Department of Fisheries.
“The objective of the event was to present the main findings of the study to stakeholders, receive detailed feedback on these findings, and prioritise recommendations presented within the report,” according to a statement issued Monday by the OECS Commission.
It said that the event brought together more than 30 stakeholders, directly and indirectly, involved in the harvest and management of the queen conch fishery here, including conch divers, large and small processors, conservation agencies, the Marine Unit of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force, conch artisans, and the Deputy and Chief Fisheries Officers.
The draft case study presented a value chain analysis of the queen conch production in Saint Lucia, identifying the main challenges and opportunities faced by stakeholders, using the BioTrade principles and criteria as a framework of analysis.
“An economic cluster based on identified opportunities, shared efforts and deep collaboration can increase income and sustainability of queen conch products,” said OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules, while Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Alfred Prosper, noted that “managing our resource sustainably in the face of global crises is essential to unlock new markets for the benefit of everyone.”
The OECS statement said that several industry development opportunities from the report were presented including enhancing diver safety; improving export access through certification of processing facilities and enhancing the value earned by local stakeholders from the sale of queen conch pearls.
“Information on the BioTrade principles and criteria, and how these guidelines can be applied to the queen conch value chain to improve sustainability, profits, and marketability were highlighted. Stakeholders were also informed of the risk of trade suspensions due to non-receipt of annual reports, and how CITES can support local authorities.
“Other case studies on the queen conch value chains in Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines will also inform the St. Lucia study and stakeholders at a regional workshop on a regional Blue BioTrade Action Plan in 2022,” the statement added.