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Illegal Sea Shell Trade Print E-mail
One of the predominantly 'Maduran' shell traders, showing off one of many plus 20 Kg. Giant clams for sale in Bali. These are gathered all over Indonesia's once pristine coral reef areas which are totally pillaged and destroyed to acquire shells. As of July, 1997, this dealer could 'only' guarantee about ten of these shells a month because they are becoming extinct.

Smelly bags of uncleaned, unpolished 'Nautilus' shells; approximately two thousand shells. The population of the prehistorically renowned Nautilus is now in danger of becoming extinct. The uncontrolled and unmonitored shell trade is taking its toll on many reefs as more shells and coral are removed than nature can replace. This dealer guaranteed to supply approximately one thousand Nautilus shells per month!

Giant Clams, protected by written law, are openly removed from the sea and traded/sold without regard to law or existing declining populations.
This dealer had thirty available at approximately US$60 per shell. ( July '97)

One of many Shell shops on Bali. Evidence of total exploitation of coral reefs. A back room to be cleaned and polished for businessmen and tourists.

Tourist totally surprised of the size and amounts of shells available.
All unchecked and unregistered by government monitors.

One of many sellers roaming Indonesian tourist beaches selling shells, including those protected by written laws.
One Nautilus shell can
cost as little as 2 dollars (US).

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An Investigation during July, 1998, revealed that the situation was becoming increasingly worse as the Indonesian Authorities as well as environmental players turn a blind eye and continue to allow the pillage and marketing of CITIES declared protected Sea Shell species. Many of such shells are sold openly in Mauls and shops in Jakarta as on beaches and shops on Bali, and even on National Marine Reserves as in North Sulawesi, where locals and visitors openly pick and hack out the living creatures for their shells. The prices of these shells have gone down to an all time low since the economic crisis has taken hold and the stock piles have accumulated. The main target for purchase are foreigners now. Many traders exporting without problems to CITIES member states partners, a daily occurrence on Bali and Java.