Photo by Gregory Culmer on Unsplash

Sea Shells and similar – better not take home

What’s that pearly shimmering in the sand? Who will find the most beautiful specimen of a marine snail? Collecting shells and stones on the beach is for many like a treasure hunt and is simply part of a good beach walk.

But many holidaymakers do not know that in most countries it is not allowed to collect these beach treasures and to take them out of the country. Sand is also forbidden for example on the Canary Islands, but also in countries like Italy or the Philippines. In Sardinia, high fines are imposed if sand is stolen from the beach.

According to customs, seashells, corals and snail shells fall under species protection. The Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) covers 5,600 animal and 30,000 plant species and the products made from them – including jewellery, for example. There is an exception for the export of mussels with the so-called giant mussels, which occur mainly in the Caribbean: For personal use, up to three specimens of these mussels may be brought along.

In addition to mussels, snail shells, stones and sand, there are of course many other popular souvenirs that are repeatedly confiscated by customs and which are subject to heavy fines. For example, anyone who picks gentian in Austria and gets caught with it has to reckon with 15,000 euros, which he can pay for this mistake. But one should also be careful with counterfeit branded goods such as clothing, watches and perfumes. For air and sea travellers for goods from non-EU countries, a tax-exempt amount of 430 euros applies. If they are exceeded, customs will take away everything and in countries like Italy, the purchase of counterfeit branded clothing is already punishable in the country itself.

So before each journey always first check what one may export from the holiday country and import with us.

If you are caught by customs, you will have to pay the fine. But we can help you if your flight was delayed for more than three hours. Maybe a part of the compensation covers the penalty for the customs offence. 😉 Have your ticket checked.