Nature Foundation Disposes of Illegally Imported Conch Shells after Seizure by Customs

The Princess Juliana International Airport, Customs Department and the Nature Foundation recently collaborated in the seizure and disposal of some two hundred kilos of conch shells imported by an inbound passenger. It is illegal to transport conch meat and shells and certain pieces of coral into and out of of Sint Maarten without the proper permits.

“We would like to show our sincerest appreciation to the staff and management of the Airport and Customs Department for doing the excellent work in confiscating the shells”, stated Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager. Conch shells and certain coral fall under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and thus require a special permit to be able to transport them, alive or dead as shells. The Nature Foundation is the designated authority to issues these permits.

“We want to protect especially our ecosystem, and our beaches in particular, from the issues associated with the illegal collection and transportation of shells into out of our country. We also need to especially be careful regarding the upholding of international laws and treaties Sint Maarten is party to. Therefore we are grateful the Customs Department in ensuring that no illegal trade in shells or wildlife occurs,” concluded Bervoets.

All shells were reintroduced to the ocean where they will become part of the Natural Ecosystem.