Does Collecting Seashells Really Harm Beaches?

beach shells

clam shells from the beach

Don’t you feel guilty about collecting seashells? Apparently some people think you should.

When I found this article entitled, “Hey Tourists: Leave Those Shells on The Beach Would Ya?” at the Care2.com site, I had to read it.  And then I shook my head.
After all, I write about collecting seashells and that post is saying it is not a good idea.  But what is the reasoning behind this?  Well, I read that tourism to beaches has increased so much that the collecting of seashells is in danger of hampering the coastline.  Shells that could be used by hermit crabs as homes, and by sea birds as nesting material (huh?), and in beach stabilization.  Okay, the study was done over a 30 year period on beaches in the Mediterranean, where tourism to the coast has increased three fold.

Sorry folks but I find it incredibly hard to believe that tourists are collecting THAT many seashells and taking them back home.  How much room do you leave in your suitcase for shells when you take a vacation to the shore?  And even if they are significantly hoarding shells, these are most likely empty shells.  What about the living organisms that are dredged up with fishing nets, and selected for food, and sold in shops?  These are the ones doing the most damage, not a simple vacationer.

Also the damage done to the coast from building, driving on the sand and polluting the water has to be much greater.  And the study says that this was mainly a way to account for shell loss due to beachcombing, and nothing else.  But it definitely places the most blame on tourists.  In fact it is titled: Vanishing Clams on an Iberian Beach: Local Consequences and Global Implications of Accelerating Loss of Shells to TourismRead the whole study here.

So do we see negative effects from shell collecting?  I haven’t heard of any.  Just a doomsday story about how tourists are silently wrecking the beaches.  What I find incredibly typical is that all the comments after the “Hey Tourists” post have people apologizing for shelling, and promising to never do it again.  Lemmings.
Go ahead and take a few (unoccupied) shells home people… good grief.

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Get Out On The Water in a Gheenoe

Gheenoe 2

Gheenoe 2 (Photo credit: jspeaks)

Sport fishing is a favorite pastime in Florida and the fish are plentiful.  Fishing from shore is easy enough, but getting out on the water means spending money (lots of money) on a boat.  Or does it?

When I was in Florida this past summer my son’s friend had come by to go fishing at our rental house on the ICW. He works at Boston Whaler in Edgewater, and the boys got to talking about boats. My son doesn’t have a bunch of money, but would love to have an affordable boat to get out to the little islands all up and down the coast and do some fishing.  His friend mentioned a Gheenoe, saying it was a “glorified canoe”. It’s small and affordable with a motor and a good setup wouldn’t cost much more than $5,000 – with the motor and all.  They are made right in Titusville, Florida.

It sounded perfect for what my son wanted to do.  During the summer, my son looked into it more and visited a place in Maitland which sells the Gheenoe.  He ended up with one and loves it.  It’s like a canoe, but with a motor, and options to make additions, like comfy seats, lights, etc., and he says it handles big waves very well.  He’s come across some fast moving yachts in areas of the ICW which have caused giant swells for him to navigate, and he’s done so without a problem.  He even caught his first Redfish not too long ago.

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Seashells That Are Pink

pink and white murex seashells

Pink Murex

Want to make a seashell collection of only pink shells? Then you must search the sand for some small shells like the Rose Petal Tellin. This one is a rosy pink both inside and out. It’s a bivalve and lives under the sand in the ocean, but the shells can be washed up on shore. Other tellin shells can have streaks of pink, but the Rose Petal (Tellin lineata) is the one that will be an all-over pink.  In Florida the rose colored tellin can be found mainly on the southern beaches, but it is possible to find them farther north.

Certain scallop shells can be very pretty and you may find some that are pinkish.  The Zigzag scallop (Euvola ziczac) has purplish zigzag lines over a variety of pink, purple, and peach background colors.  The calico scallop is usually more of a purple, but the light red ones can pass as pink.  Continue reading

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Art For The Table – The Nautilus Shell

Nautilus shell, mounted on chiselled silver ba...

Nautilus shell, mounted on chiselled silver base. Germany, 16th century. Now in the Applied Arts Collections Museum in the Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, january 6 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine sitting down to eat with a huge nautilus shell to be used as your drinking cup! The nautilus shell has been used in such works of art for centuries. These artifacts, mainly in the form of table ware, are a unique part of art history which is preserved in museums and private collections now.

The marine shell’s large size and unique shape, with the curl extending to a large opening seemed perfect to use as a cup, or bowl to hold salt, spices or other items.  Continue reading

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Saving Sea Turtles

Dustytoes:

You may have read my previous post about Florida wildlife art, with the feature of a beautiful sea turtle wall hanging. This post from a concerned blogger, gives more information about the sea turtles and the dangers they face.

Originally posted on Siesta Key 611 :

From May until October of every year, it is nesting season for sea turtles, which come up on to Siesta Key beach (and others around southern Florida) in the darkness to lay their eggs. It takes approximately 60 days from the time the eggs are laid until the baby sea turtles hatch. Many of the turtles are loggerhead turtles, whose shells can be a habitat for as many as 100 other species of plants and animals (source: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/loggerhead-turtle).

As you walk on the beach during the sea turtle nesting season, you will likely see small areas roped off by the Mote Marine Sea Turtle Patrol, a group of scientists, interns and volunteers who monitor the area’s beaches to protect sea turtle nests. Sea turtles have existed in the earth’s oceans for more than a 100 million years, but according to both the Mote Marine Laboratory and the WWF…

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