Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rule For Collecting Seashells

Rules For Collecting Seashells
by
Duke Davis
WWW.Duke-Davis.Com

The Rules Every Seashell Collectors Should Know:

  1. Avoid collecting shells in protected areas. Those areas are protected for a reason. Most of the time it is because the ecology in the area is threatened and you don't want to be the cause of the extinction of a species!
  2. Be careful with the shell environment. Leave the area like it was before you showed up. When you turn over a rock to see if there is a shell under it, put it back like it was! There is probably a lot of sea life living under that rock that will die from having all of that unfiltered bright sunlight hitting it with the rock gone. Under that rock is a lot of critter's homes.
  3. Never move or collect a shell with an egg pouch or sitting on eggs. This might destroy a whole colony, or weaken one to the point of extinction.
  4. Only collect Gem Quality Shells. Be selective. Leave the bad, chipped or imperfect shells for breeders. This will help the colony survive. You would only wind up throwing the bad shells away when you get home anyway. Let them breed so that next time you might just have more nice shells to find.
  5. Do not take an area's full population. Again, be selective. Just take what you need. Once the last shell is taken from an area then that area is wiped out for ever as a shell hunting ground.
  6. Avoid taking juvenile specimens. (Poor value and then they can't reproduce and restock the breeding ground.)
  7. Avoid telling people you do not know about good shelling spots. This may sound greedy, but they could be commercial shellers, or they might just invite ten thousand of their best and closest friends to your shell hunting grounds.
  8. Do not break a Coral formation to get a shell. Coral is itself a living creature. Beautiful Coral Formations make up our living reefs and can take thousands of years to grow. Divers and boat anchors can destroy them faster than you can read this paragraph. Be careful around the coral. A lot of fish, smaller creatures, including a lot of the mollusks that live in the shells we collect live off of that beautiful coral. It's their home, food and protection. The coral reefs around the world are in trouble. Our reefs are dieing. We must do everything in our power to protect that fragile environment.
  9. If you can possibly do it, take a fresh dead shell instead of a live shell. A dead shell is much easier to clean, there is no animal to get rid of, and it is every bit as beautiful as a live shell. If everyone takes live shells we will soon have no more shells to enjoy.
When I was a young man growing up in the South Florida Keys, down around Big Pine Key, and Key West, back in the 1940s and 1950s you could find shells, coral, and fish, by the boat load. They were everywhere. We thought they would never run out and that the ocean held an endless supply. As I grew older I saw this was not true. Today when I look around at the areas where I boated as a youngster and see the reefs dead from pollution, careless boaters and divers that didn't know any better, my self included at one time, I want to sit down and cry.

A beautiful underworld is vanishing from the face of the earth and I fear we may be too late to save it. If enough of us band together there is a chance that some of it will survive. The ocean is a powerful thing. It has an amazing recovery force if we will quit poisoning it and let it recover. But we must quit dumping our trash and garbage in it, stop pouring our poisons into it and stop overfishing it. There is enough there to feed the world forever if managed with intelligence. We need to start practicing a bit more and quit taking so much.

An opinion,
Duke Davis

38 comments:

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