Cozumel, Q.R. – Beginning next month, merchants will require a permit to sell Queen Conch shells and starfish shells.
A statement from Cozumel City Hall says that the Department of Tourism and Economic Development has announced that as of March, they will initiate inspections and enforce sanctions on those buying or selling starfish and products derived from the shells of Queen Conch shells.
Cozumel Mayor Fredy Marrufo Martín, says that the move is being made in an attempt to help preserve the marine life of the island and that it is essential to preserving the various species that are an important part of the biodiversity of Isla Cozumel.
Local officials say they will launch awareness campaigns at the traders and buyers of these products. The campaigns are intended to discourage the sale of starfish and Queen Conch shells by traders as well as toward the general population who buy them. Campaigns against buying products made from marine animals will be published in local television and print media as well as social media platforms.
Municipal, state and federal agencies are still defining the sanctions that will be enforced to those who fail to comply with the new rules.
Lobatus gigas, or Queen Conch, achieves its full size around three to five years of age, and while they live an average of 20 to 30 years, they can live as long as 40 years. The older the Queen Conch, the thicker the shell.