Aquaculture North America

Florida Atlantic University launches free tool to grow queen conch

June 28, 2024
By Aquaculture North America staff

Megan Davis, Ph.D., a research professor at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, teaching in the Bahamas. (Photo: IsleLens - Tyrie Moss)

Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has launched a free online training program to grow queen conch.

Megan Davis, Ph.D., a research professor at the institute, who has spent over 40 years conserving and restoring the species and Becky Holt, an assistant director for the aquaculture and conservation program at the institution, share their expertise and knowledge in growing and sustaining the queen conch.

The training program, “eConch,” was developed in collaboration with FAU’s Center for Online and Continuing Education. The program, which includes videos and provides access to expert advice, is said to be easy to follow, allowing users to move at their own pace. It also includes a comprehensive manual, which provides step-by-step illustrations and photos of how to culture queen conch.

“We have received numerous requests throughout Florida and the Caribbean from community members, researchers, aquaculturists, conservationists, educators and students to learn how to conserve and culture queen conch,” said Davis. “We are incredibly excited to be able to respond to these inquiries with eConch, a first-of-its-kind, free online training program.”

Davis said the queen conch not only has socio-economic importance but also plays a critical ecological role in seagrass beds and aquaculture along with conservation will ensure the longevity of these species.

In 2019, Davis teamed up with Conservación ConCiencia and Naguabo Fishing Association in Puerto Rico to assist with the stock enhancement of the queen conch. The Naguabo Aquaculture Center, which has a queen conch hatchery and nursery for restoration, serves as a demonstration and training facility for Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries. The goal is to produce up to 2,000 queen conch juveniles for release into conch juvenile habitats.

“Our work in Puerto Rico has been instrumental in developing and launching eConch and providing an innovative way to save the queen conch,” said Davis. “eConch uses videos and visuals from the Naguabo Aquaculture Center to provide an immersive and hands-on learning experience.” 

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