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Sea Shells back to USA question #87578
02/23/2016 06:59 PM
02/23/2016 06:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 65
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moontide Offline OP
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moontide  Offline OP
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After researching numerous customs sites, blogs and other relevant sites pertaining to whether one can take back shells from Sint Maarten to the USA, I am still confused. Is there a forum discussion here on TTOL that I can look at or does anyone have an answer based on their research or personal experience?

SXM Sponsors
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: moontide] #87579
02/23/2016 07:05 PM
02/23/2016 07:05 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 13,563
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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Ohio
Some people will bring them back. Some people will encounter problems and others will not. Use common sense and you should be ok but this topic could easily turn controversial.

I am pretty sure we have a few shells from SXM here now.


J.D.
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: ruralcarrier] #87580
02/23/2016 07:16 PM
02/23/2016 07:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,007
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Brookfield, CT.
Us, too, over all these years.

I've never found (probably because I've never really looked....) a definitive answer to this question in print, but about fifteen years ago we attended an evening seminar at Mahoe Campground on St. John, and they told us we definitely should NOT remove seashells from the beach as they do recycle back into the sand and natural environment. The rational being if every visitor to the beach brought back just a couple, it would impact the natural seaside environment. I don't know much about this but it sounds reasonable to me....... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: pat] #87581
02/23/2016 07:39 PM
02/23/2016 07:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 13,563
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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How about "sea glass"? I guess "recycling" trash (broken beer, soda, etc. bottles) is different? I have no idea on either one but I know a lot of shells and sea glass find their way to various places and it is not by nature.


J.D.
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: ruralcarrier] #87582
02/23/2016 07:44 PM
02/23/2016 07:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,007
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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No answer or guess in that one. I guess they didn't feel it had environmental ramifications. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: pat] #87583
02/23/2016 07:46 PM
02/23/2016 07:46 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 706
Rosemont, Pa & Lewes, De.
LeeLee Offline
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LeeLee  Offline
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Rosemont, Pa & Lewes, De.
Aren't the beaches on St. Johns considered nature preserves? That could make a difference.
A few years back I brought home a big bag of shells from Shell Beach on St. Barts. I now have a great shell filled lamp in my Lewes, De. home. I look at it and remember.
Just make sure you clean them well. I suggest using Clorox.


New Bitmap Image (2)
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: LeeLee] #87584
02/23/2016 07:53 PM
02/23/2016 07:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 67,484
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Central Florida!
Hey Lee Lee, do you still own the place we visited on the beach, years ago??? Great place!!!


Carol Hill
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: ruralcarrier] #87585
02/23/2016 07:59 PM
02/23/2016 07:59 PM
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Posts: 65
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moontide Offline OP
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Agree. I don't want to make it a long discussion. Thanks for all the responses.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: moontide] #87586
02/23/2016 10:02 PM
02/23/2016 10:02 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 655
Florida
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wilsonck Offline
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Florida
From the Customs and Border Protection website.

Quote
Seashells are generally allowed into the U.S. if they are not taken from endangered or threatened species (CITES protected), and they are completely sanitized from the creatures that inhabited them, and any other agricultural material such as sand, clay, soil, etc. A traveler may bring in a reasonable amount of seashells for personal use as a memento of their trip. Large quantities of seashells being brought into the U.S. for the purposes of using them in crafting, landscaping, or for commercial use are prohibited.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: wilsonck] #87587
02/23/2016 10:56 PM
02/23/2016 10:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 918
PA
biglar Offline
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biglar  Offline
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PA
Aren't there stores on St. Martin that sell souvenir bags of shells to take home with you. I have plenty of shells from just about all the islands in the Caribbean. All except St. John's since when I left Trunk Bay, the security guard examined my bag and took the shells I had. It is a US nature preserve as someone else said and it is illegal to remove anything from a nature preserve.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: biglar] #87588
02/24/2016 12:00 AM
02/24/2016 12:00 AM
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Posts: 1,229
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Bahston Offline
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I look to the Nature Foundation for my guidance on the question. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is the big issue. I'm not aware of any CITES issues with small shells. Conch shells are a problem, as well as coral.

http://www.naturefoundationsxm.org/projects_programs/CITES.htm

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: Bahston] #87589
02/24/2016 12:27 AM
02/24/2016 12:27 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 545
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Ellen777 Offline
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Las Vegas, NV, USA
It is a hit and miss affair for me. We got conch shells in VX - Margarita island - no problem bringing them back - in STT, I had two and they would not let me bring them in. They kept them. I regularly bring back a few small bags of small shells from AXA, no questions, I had one big conch shell last year and they let me keep it. I hope when I unpack at home that they are there, but if they are not, I will try again next year. There are not that many big shells on the beaches of Anguilla, so anything is a real find.


Life's a beach
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: moontide] #87590
02/24/2016 08:17 AM
02/24/2016 08:17 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,516
Londonderry, N.H.
WayneH Offline
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I have personal experience with one item. About five years ago while snorkeling off of Orient Beach my friend Marge found a conch shell. She was so proud that she dove down for it that she wanted to take it home. Well, we only got as far as security and they confiscated it. I asked them why as it wasn't a living thing. The security person said that it could be used as a weapon. She then held it up and made a clubbing motion with it. Okay, one can never win with security. The conch shell was lost forever. Wayne <><

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: Ellen777] #87591
02/24/2016 08:48 AM
02/24/2016 08:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 655
Florida
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wilsonck Offline
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The US Virgin Islands is not on the list of Caribbean areas where you can bring back conch shells from. The full list is available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: LeeLee] #87592
02/24/2016 10:12 AM
02/24/2016 10:12 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 302
Tampa, FL
denverd0n Offline
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Quote
LeeLee said:
Aren't the beaches on St. Johns considered nature preserves? That could make a difference.

Yes they are, and yes it does.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: denverd0n] #87593
02/26/2016 01:02 PM
02/26/2016 01:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 57
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steveandcindylou Offline
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In the glass case of prohibited items, as you are about to enter the first checkpoint (before the escalator) you will see conch shells. You are not supposed to bring them onboard. The US doesn't care-SXM does.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: steveandcindylou] #87594
02/26/2016 01:35 PM
02/26/2016 01:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 535
norwalk, ct
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Dansc Offline
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its not for any other reason than it is a safety issue as it can be used as a weapon. Has nothing to do with SXM not wanting you to take them. Same as the glass case in your airport at home, they have all sorts of random things they dont want taken on board

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: Dansc] #87595
02/26/2016 01:52 PM
02/26/2016 01:52 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 9,188
Auburn, WA
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In the states it's a TSA issue. In other countries its a security issue.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: Dansc] #87596
02/27/2016 09:04 AM
02/27/2016 09:04 AM
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Posts: 3,308
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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Quote
Dansc said:
its not for any other reason than it is a safety issue as it can be used as a weapon. Has nothing to do with SXM not wanting you to take them. Same as the glass case in your airport at home, they have all sorts of random things they dont want taken on board


Put them in checked bags...

Last edited by boucharda; 02/27/2016 09:04 AM.
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: steveandcindylou] #87597
07/05/2016 11:33 AM
07/05/2016 11:33 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 655
Florida
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wilsonck Offline
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Quote
steveandcindylou said:
In the glass case of prohibited items, as you are about to enter the first checkpoint (before the escalator) you will see conch shells. You are not supposed to bring them onboard. The US doesn't care-SXM does.


We now have an answer, based on this story , you must have a special permit to remove conch shells from SXM. You can't even have them in your checked luggage without the permit.

Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: wilsonck] #87598
07/09/2016 06:14 PM
07/09/2016 06:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 27
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JoeandLori Offline
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We bring small amount of shells back regularly, about every six months. This includes sea glass. The only thing you can not have in carry on is a conch shell. We had one confiscated on our second trip leaving SXM. They said we should have put it in our checked bags. In to the US there are no problems unless you are trying to bring in live sea products.

Hope this helps!

Joe & Lori


Joe & Lori
Key West, FL
Re: Sea Shells back to USA question [Re: JoeandLori] #87599
07/09/2016 10:25 PM
07/09/2016 10:25 PM
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Bahston Offline
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What I've previously understood, and had confirmed from this thread, is that small sea shells and sea glass are not a problem.

However, Conch shells are a problem if SXM Security or US Customs becomes aware of them. They will be seized, based on CITES.


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