For most people, the word conch evokes either an image of a large white shell on a Caribbean beach or a deep hollow sound trumpeting the air. In the Turks and Caicos Islands conch is the national symbol and the heart of the economy. It represents a food source, a livelihood and a heritage. But the conch (pronounced "conk"), specifically the queen conch, produces a strikingly beautiful shell and its meat is sought after as a delicacy and for its versatility in cuisine. As American world class chef Norman Van Aken commented, "Guests would riot in the streets if we ever took it (queen conch) off the menu." But growing demand and overfishing threatens the conch population.
Enter the Caicos Conch Farm the only place in the world where conch are commercially produced. It is here that conch are kept in ponds and raised from egg to adult stage. It is here that the mission is to give conch the best possible start and growth process. Even the algae which is fed to the young larvae is grown right on site. The commitment is to protect the queen conch from further exploitation and to give back to the Providenciales and the Turks and Caicos community by providing jobs and education.
But if that wasn't noteworthy enough, the Caicos Conch Farm is open to visitors to allow them the incredible opportunity of seeing the life cycle of the conch up close and personal. Located at Heaving Down Rock, at the end of the Leeward Highway, Providenciales, the Caicos Conch Farm is open Monday through Saturday and offers a 30-minute tour of the operation, with the chance to hold young conchs, and have some Show & Tell fun with live conchs named Sally and Jerry.
The Caicos Conch Farm not only provides a sustainable supply of conch to the global market, but it protects and preserves the conch and the symbol of the Turks and Caicos. It is a treasure not to be missed in any Turks and Caicos vacation.