Categorized | National News

Slump in conch sales

Vibrio Parahaemolyticus, a term many are now familiar with since the conch poisoning outbreak that put a hole in the wallets of many Potter’s Cay Dock conch vendors.

Three months after the outbreak,   vendors say business is still in a slump.

“It really affected Potter’s Cay Dock businesses because we do conch salad, nobody was coming to buy conch salad, nobody was coming to buy cracked conch and nobody really was coming back to Potter’s Cay Dock,” said VP of the Bahama Dock Alliance Association, Matthew “Rev” Rolle.

“If you look at the dock a week ago before the holiday, it was empty. You could look from one end to the next end, because no one was coming to Potter’s Cay Dock to buy any conch,” he added.

“Business dropped tremendously, nobody really was interested in purchasing conch because nobody wants to get sick,” said Proprietor of Bangs Fresh Food and Conch, Edward McPhee. 

“But I think eventually,  once it is known to the public that it is safe to eat conch again, the business will return.

“At least this weekend over the holiday, there was a tremendous raise in the amount of conch salad that I sold, so I think people are getting the trend back that it is safe to eat conch,” he said.

The vendors said with fewer customers, they’ve had to change their operating hours, alter work schedules and menus. 

“Some days  staff may come to work three days a week, sometimes two days a week, because of the poisonings, they weren’t making any money to pay the staff,” Rolle said. 

“But many days they started selling chicken wings and other things to replace the conch, but nothing is like conch salad and crack conch,” he added. 

“The people come to the dock to by multitudes to get conch salad and crack conch, because this is where it’s at.”  

“It put a strain on me, because I didn’t want to let any of my staff go because most of my staff is my kids, my family. 

“So I didn’t want to let them go, so I had to switch up the days and how they work shifts, so some weeks they have to work three days, some weeks four days.

“But I tried to keep everybody so that when it all resumes back to normal, that everybody would still be employed,” said Mcphee.

Although many are not taking any chances and are still skeptical about consuming conch –be it raw or cooked, Rolle, assured there’s no need to worry.

“We’ve done the research on Potter’s Cay Dock and we could say that the water on Potter’s Cay Dock is bacteria free,” he said.

“So, there wouldn’t be any more conch poisoning at this time at Potter’s Cay Dock. 

“Plus we had a meeting with Environmental Health, they had a talk with us, we had a good talk with them, and I think everything now is good, it’s safe now to eat conch salad,” said the vendor.

At last count, there were 25 confirmed cases of the last case of conch poisoning was reported in July. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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