TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — The Florida Keys without conch on the menu? That is the fear of some lawmakers who believe a federal prohibition of the large marine mollusk from being served from Florida City to Key West will harm tourism.

A memorial (HM 1253) approved Thursday by the Local and Federal Affairs Subcommittee requests that the National Marine Fisheries Service not place the Queen Conch on the threatened or endangered list.

While the Queen Conch is already a protected species and cannot be harvested in Florida or adjacent federal waters, such a move would prohibit the popular South Florida restaurant item from being imported.

Conch chowder, fritters and conch ceviche are served widely in the Keys, but the meat is imported.

“Without conch there will be no Conch Republic,” said Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”


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