Winter Shell Collecting in Texas

Beachcombing on Galveston Island in Winter.

Beachcombing on Galveston Island in Winter.

This is passport to Texas

Nobody thinks twice about collecting shells from the beach. But I started to wonder if it’s really okay since beaches are public land.

It’s okay to collect shells. The ones that are broken and come apart, they create the sand that’s out there, but there is no law against it [collecting].

Paul Hammerschmidt, retired from coastal fisheries, is a lifelong shell collector. He says collect responsibly to avoid creating problems for the environment or marine animals.

I highly recommend that you only take shells that are from dead animals—not live animals.

How can you determine if something is still alive? In the case of the popular sand dollar, small spines cover the shells of living animals…so look for smooth, spineless shells. If, like me, you’ve never found a sand dollar on the beach—there’s good reason for it.

I think it’s because everybody wants to get a sand dollar. And, too, they’re another very fragile shell. And when the waves are strong, they’ll get broken up, and you’ll just see fragments of them. A lot of times, the best time to find a sand dollar, is after a storm—and then very early in the morning—before anybody else gets out on the beach.

More tips on when and where to go shelling tomorrow.

We record our series in Austin at the Block House. Joel Block Engineers our program.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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