Target: World Tourists and Beachgoers
Goal: Stop taking seashells off the coast as souvenirs
The collection and removal of seashells from coastal beaches is a widespread problem. There are agencies, state laws, and national laws that prevent tourists from picking seashells from the coast, but this doesn’t stop them from doing so. Ecosystems depend on the existence of these shells to function properly. Sign this petition and raise awareness for this important aspect of coastal preservation.
Tons of seashells are confiscated from airport security each week, but seashells are still disappearing rapidly from tourist locations. Their disappearance drastically harms the environment as the ecosystem depends on their existence. A study conducted by the Florida Museum of Natural History showed that increased tourism in the Mediterranean coast of Spain correlated with a 70 percent decrease in mollusk shells during the tourist seasons, with a 60 percent decrease in other months. If this amount of seashell disappearance can happen in an isolated area, what are the numbers in other coastlines?
Scientists are concerned about seashell loss as it is causing significant damage to ecosystems and organisms that depend on shells to survive. The shells are homes to algae, seagrass, and sponges, who are surface dwellers. Hermit crabs also use the shells as homes and protection against the elements and predators. And when the shells break down, they are recycled back into the oceans.
Tourism has rapidly changed the appearance and dynamic of environments, seashell loss is merely one aspect of the change. One person picking up a seashell may not do a lot of harm, but when thousands participate, there is a significant amount of damage. By signing you pledge to not take seashells with you when you visit the beach. By leaving them be, seashells can provide homes for plants and animal or be recycled back into the ocean.
Dear General Public,
I would like to inform you of the dangers of taking seashells from our coastlines. I realize that many of us like to take seashells as a souvenir of a trip to the beach, but when thousands of tourists take these shells home, we are doing significant harm to our environment.
Seashells are homes to surface organisms like algae and seagrass, which attach themselves to the shells to grow. Hermit crabs need seashells so they can be protected from the elements and predators, and need several shells over the course of their life time to survive. And when these shells break down, they are recycled back into the ocean. By signing this petition, I pledge not to take any seashells I come across on the beach and I hope you too will take this pledge.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alessio Sbarbaro via Wikimedia