Conch (pronounced ‘konk’) is a type of edible marine snail popular throughout the Caribbean and especially in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Conch tastes similar to clams, although it is a lot more ‘rubbery’ with a more defined texture. It is delicious when prepared as cracked conch, conch fritters, ceviche or the famous raw conch salad, yum, a must-have while vacationing in the islands.
Conch is an important symbol of the Turks and Caicos, being one of three symbols on our flag (the other two being a spiny lobster and a Turks head cactus).
The Queen Conch, or Strombus Giga, is found naturally in the Atlantic, from the coast of Brazil to Florida. An endangered animal, it is prohibited to fish/gather conch in the United States. Queen Conch are protected under the CITES Treaty, and as such, exporting the animal (or the shell) requires a permit.
Conchs start as an egg in an ‘egg mass’, a group of individual strands that are woven together with sand to protect the individual delicate eggs. Each egg mass has approximately 500,000 eggs.