Turks & Caicos Is A Big Fish When It Comes To Conch

World’s Largest Exporter Of Caribbean Delicacy Hosts: Second Annual Turks & Caicos Conch Festival Scheduled For November 26, 2005

(CaribPR Newswire) Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands – New England has festivals for its clams, Maryland for crabs, and Louisiana for crawfish, but when it comes to conch (pronounced ‘conk’), the tiny island chain of the Turks & Caicos Islands is king – or should we say Queen, as in Queen Conch.

The beautiful, pink-lipped mollusk doesn’t just produce coveted shells – and the occasional pearl -its high-protein meat is fast becoming an haute cuisine delicacy around the world, appearing on menus of five-star restaurants as often as the chalkboards of the conch shacks that dole it out along the pristine beaches of this tiny island paradise.

So what better excuse to throw an island party? The Second Annual Turks & Caicos Conch Festival will be held on Saturday, November 26, 2005 in the Blue Hills area of Providenciales in Turks & Caicos, event organizers announced today. Building on the enthusiasm and popularity of last year’s inaugural event, the Conch Festival ( will feature more restaurants, activities and entertainment in the annual celebration of one of the Turks & Caicos most valuable natural resources.

The highlight of the Festival will be the conch tasting ‘conch-etition’ where local, and possibly international, restaurants and chefs offer up their creative conch recipes in three categories: chowder, salad and specialty. This year, invitations will be extended to international chefs and restaurants and an international VIP panel of judges will sample all the conch dishes and bestow the prestigious annual awards to the winners.

Other highlights of the 2005 Conch Festival will include: · A $10,000 Pot O’ Gold raffle drawing, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Providenciales · A youth talent show to crown the Princess Conch · Conch shucking (or knocking) and conch blowing competitions · Live entertainment featuring Caribbean style music · Games and activities for kids of all ages, including a conch treasure hunt · Native sloop demonstrations put on by the Turks and Caicos Maritime Heritage Federation.

“Conch and marine life in general are such an important part of our islands’ heritage and culture that it is fitting we celebrate and educate people about the role it has played – and continues to play – in all aspects of our economy,” commented Mr. Galmo “Gilley” Williams, Minister of Natural Resources for the Turks & Caicos. “The Turks & Caicos are blessed to be the world’s leading producer of this popular delicacy, which is gaining international recognition for its nutritional and culinary value. The Conch Festival is a great way to promote this important resource, highlight the great restaurants and chefs we have here, and benefit a worthwhile cause as well.”

The Turks & Caicos, which boasts the fastest growing economy in the Caribbean thanks to a surge in tourism and related development, has very few natural resources to export. Long sustained by the salt industry in the 16th and 17th centuries, its primary products now are lobster and conch, both of which adorn the TCI national flag. The TCI annually exports roughly 600,000 pounds of conch meat, representing approximately 50% of the export market to the US.

While other conch-producing regions have suffered from over-fishing, disease and pollution, the TCI industry continues to thrive thanks to well-managed conservation practices and ideal natural conditions for conch harvesting. In addition, the Turks & Caicos is home to the world’s only commercial conch farm (, which is internationally renowned for the research and harvesting practices it supports.

“With all due respect to Key West, Turks & Caicos is truly the Conch Kingdom. The Conch Festival is a manifestation and an acknowledgement of a long history of fishing – and preserving – a unique resource, as well as the creativity of the local chefs and restaurants here,” said Conch Festival committee president Mike Sottak. “We are pleased to make the Conch Festival an annual tradition and hope the event becomes a long-standing highlight on the Turks & Caicos calendar. We’re confident it will be appealing to both local residents and tourists alike in celebrating this great source of pride for the islands. This year, we’re looking forward to an even tastier and more creative ‘conch-etition’ among the restaurants, and challenge restaurants and chefs from outside our islands to participate.”

The Conch Festival is actively seeking Corporate Sponsors for the 2005 event, joining current Platinum Level Sponsors Discount Liquors and The TCI Tourism Board. Interested business can go to for more information. Restaurants are also encouraged to go the web site to sign up for the conch tasting competition.

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