There’s no doubt that seashells and seashell trinkets make fantastic holiday souvenirs – they’re beautiful. But, have you ever thought about where they come from and what harm they are doing to animals and the environment? It’s a lot.
Collection damages the environment
Collection methods are destructive and not selective. Bottom trawling, for example, involves dragging a net along the seafloor. It damages habitats and injures or kills other marine life.
It diminishes populations
Molluscs are an essential part of the environment, providing food for many other species. Removing large numbers in one go has the potential to impact the ecosystem and can be detrimental to the population itself, which can struggle to recover.
In India, many target species, such as the spider conch and green turban, are listed under India’s Wildlife Protection Act, making their harvesting illegal. But, due to poor legislation and enforcement, trade continues to be a serious problem.
Animals are left to die
In India, collectors gather thousands of live molluscs at a time and leave them to dry out and die before cleaning them in a bath of oil and acid. They then scrape any remaining flesh off by hand.
Processing uses energy
Producing seashell souvenirs is not the small business you might imagine; large energy-sucking processing centres process and package anywhere from 30 to 100 tons of shells a month. Once packaged, they send shells to popular tourist destinations by the truckload – you could buy your souvenir anywhere; it’s not unique or even local.
Take action now and share this video to help raise awareness of this issue. And, be sure to shop ethically when looking for souvenirs on your next holiday. If an item’s origin is unknown, don’t buy it.