FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute receives $2.8 million gift for queen conch hatchery
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has received a generous gift of $2.8 million from Builders Initiative to support the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s noble quest to establish a queen conch hatchery in the Grand Bahama.
The donation, the largest of its kind from a private donor to the queen conch program at FAU Harbor Branch, will facilitate the development of a conceptual master plan for a sprawling 25-acre innovation hub in the Grand Bahama. This facility will be dedicated to researchers who seek to provide viable solutions for island sustainability.
The queen conch, revered for its beautiful spiral shell and delicious meat, is the bedrock of the Bahamian culture and economy. The project aims to support the local community by creating new environmental and economic opportunities, while also taking steps to replenish dwindling queen conch populations.
Collaborative efforts will involve a number of partners, including Blue Action Lab, which will help secure permits, negotiate, and foster collaborative relationships. Other notable partners include the Bahamas National Trust, the University of the Bahamas, the Perry Institute of Marine Science, and the Nature Conservancy, which will provide expertise on habitat mapping for conch breeding sites in seagrass beds.
This initiative marks the fifth partnership project at FAU dedicated to queen conch restoration across the Caribbean, and the Harbor Branch has been committed to these restoration efforts since 2016. The establishment of the Grand Bahama queen conch hatchery will join the ranks of other successful queen conch farms located in Puerto Rico, Curacao, and Great Exuma Island, Bahamas.