Land Snail Recovery, New Caledonia

Fabrice Brescia and colleagues are working on the conservation of Placostylus fibratus in New Caledonia (the Snail of the Isle of Pines). These snails are harvested for consumption from the natural populations on the Isles of Pines. The harvest has increased over the years, reaching 48 tonnes (about 700 000 snails) in 1993. This generates a traditional economic activity assessed at F CFP 22.5 millions (US $ 180 000). A recent survey showed a 30% decrease in numbers in the field between 1993 and 1999, mostly explained by over exploitation of this resource. The recovery program team is currently developing farming methods. The plan is to produce young on mass, and release these into the forest to restocking populations of P. fibratus that have almost disappeared. Contact Fabrice Brescia, Institut Agronomique néo-Calédonien (I.A.C.)