taking shells from the beach

Should You Take Home Seashells From The Beach? Living With A Fragile Ecosystem

It’s a question that has been debated for years – is it bad to take seashells from the beach? Some people say that taking shells from the beach can damage the delicate ecosystem and kill the animals that live inside. Others argue that it’s not a big deal, and everyone should be able to take what they want without feeling guilty. So, what is the correct answer? Let’s find out.

Why You Might Want To Take Shells From The Beach

Taking shells from the beach can be exciting. It’s fun to find unique items that you can take home and display or use for crafts. They are also beautiful and amazing that they’ve been created by nature. I live by the beach and still find them fascinating every time I see one.

Why You Should Avoid Taking Shells From The Beach

There are many different reasons why you should avoid taking shells from the beach, however. Even though they are beautiful, try leaving most of them in their natural home.

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More on this topic: Can I take sand from the beach?

Is It Illegal To Take Shells From The Beach?

In most cases, it is not illegal to take shells from the beach. However, there are some areas where it is legally protected and can be considered a crime. Before taking shells from the beach, make sure you know if it is legal in your area or not.

There are also some shells that are extremely rare to find and are protected, so make sure to do your research before collecting any of these shells. Otherwise you may find yourself facing a fine.

Some countries also have issues with taking shells from one country into another. Don’t try taking shells from New Zealand into Australia or vice versa. They have a lot of rules and regulations regarding seashells.

What’s The Best Practice For Taking Shells From The Beach?

If you find yourself a shell that you cannot resist, or want to do a craft with the shells (like wall art), be conscious about the shells you are taking, and choose wisely.

Consider how to be kind to nature while at the beach with these 5 rules

Before You Take It Home – Make Sure It’s Not Currently A Home

Before you take a shell home, make sure it is not currently being used as a home by an animal. Take the time to look inside the shell or check around it if there is evidence of life. You can usually see a critter popping its head out of the shell if there is one. If you’ve found this shell with a living creature a ways away from the water, bring it closer to the water to give it a better chance of survival. Don’t take this shell with you back home.

It’s really hard to find sand dollars in good condition that are no longer living, because the birds love to get into them and crack the shell open. So if you want to take a sand dollar home, choose one that’s white and looks the color of bone, and has an open hole in the bottom of it, rather than grey and no visible hole. The ones that are grey are the ones that are still alive.

Find out how seashells are made by reading more here from the oceanographic institution.

Limit Yourself

After making sure that there’s no critter living inside the shell, try to decide if you really want it/have to have it. Try to limit yourself to the amount of shells you take, as they are an important part of the ecosystem and may become a different animals home.

Avoid Buying Seashells

However, if you do want a seashell try to collect it yourself rather than buying one. The ones that you can buy in stores are in pristine condition likely because the animal living inside was killed to get that seashell to a souvenir shop.

Don’t Feel Guilty Over Past Seashell Collecting

using seashells for crafts

Lastly, if you’ve already collected seashells in the past, don’t feel guilty. What is done is done. Just try to be mindful of the environment when taking shells from the beach and keep it to a minimum.

And remember that it’s not just you. I have a collection of giant, beautiful shells that my grandma collected 50 years ago from various beaches she traveled to. And these shells are a rarity to see anymore because of past collections as well. This is an ongoing problem.

At the end of the day, it’s about being aware of your environment and taking responsibility for your actions. To answer the question of: is it bad to take seashells from the beach? Taking shells from the beach can cause a lot of damage to an already fragile ecosystem, so try to limit yourself and avoid shopping for shells in stores. With any activity involving nature, remember that it’s a fragile environment we and live in and should be treated with respect. Think before you act.