shell collecting | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

I’m new to the forum but will ask my age old question. Does anyone know of countries /dive operations (charters) that allow scuba diving to collect live shells (molluscs)– in the Caribbean or South Florida? Thanks in advance.

wossa Guest I think you will find that the majority of dive ops will actively stop you from removing live shells from the eco system and will not even allow them on the boat. You will aslo have to run the gauntlet of getting by Customs who will confiscate any shells etc that have been taken. It is prohibited to import/export many animals or animal parts, alive or dead, under environmental protection laws. These differ from country to country, but I think you find the majority have an extensive list and include the prohibitation of all corals, conch, scallops, oysters etc.Many of the dive sites in the Caribbean are also now protected marine reserves which shell collecting will obviously be forbidden.You will probably know more about collecting shells etc than me, and what is legal and illegal, but I have yet to come across a dive op that will allow this to happen. If it did, I still think you may find you face objections from other divers on the boat, as a diver, I would be uncomfortable with this happening and would approach you for more information.

Wossa, Yes, I have experienced all of that more times than I care to recall. Except that I have never had a problem with either U.S. or Canadian Customs upon returning. No problem even from Cuban Customs leaving Cuba. Think Customs is more concerned with anything alive or dead regarding meat. Have been on 2 charters on the Florida panhandle, one in South Carolina and spent a dive week in Panama where collecting was permitted.
Does anyone know of dive operations that operate outside marine reserves?

If you manage to get a license and dive outside a marine reserve then you should not have any trouble. You may have to get a group together and charter a boat yourself though if you want to do that since most scuba places will only operate where the best sights are, a marine reserve.

If you manage to get a license and dive outside a marine reserve then you should not have any trouble. You may have to get a group together and charter a boat yourself though if you want to do that since most scuba places will only operate where the best sights are, a marine reserve.

Yes, that’s the truth. Has anyone ever been on a boat (one that may also feature fishing/spear diving) that wasn’t a charter but permitted shell collecting. I was just on one in Mississippi, but that ain’t the Caribbean…..

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