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sponges and coral

Phoenix
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for Phoenix, Pinetop-Lakeside
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sponges and coral

One of my favorite memories of Cozumel was being at the beach watching the beautiful surf roll in and with it came sponges and coral. Our guide said we could take some so we did. I never saw it in stores. Do they sell it there?

Texas
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62 reviews
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1. Re: sponges and coral

I should hope not.

Phoenix
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for Phoenix, Pinetop-Lakeside
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2,904 posts
341 reviews
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2. Re: sponges and coral

Hope not?

Many islands sell the shells that wash up on their shores.

Corpus Christi
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936 posts
3 reviews
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3. Re: sponges and coral

They are dead once they wash up on the shore. Whats the problem with that Frog?

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel
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4. Re: sponges and coral

My opinion is that the ones that "wash up into the stores" are generally "harvested" as they aren't as beat up from the waves. The same holds true for coral. No need to buy one from a shop.

If you'd like to collect some gently used sponges, head to the east side. There are always sponges washed up in that area. The rocky areas are the best places to look.

okc
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1,993 posts
50 reviews
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5. Re: sponges and coral

I pick up dead pieces of coral along the beach if i see one that catches my eye. Some amazing patterns and designs.

MaconMO
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225 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: sponges and coral

Isn't it illegal to bring back "soil" and/or animal matter to the States? The "soil" of the beach is crushed coral and shell.

And while I know the coral is now dead, I wonder if it is legal to tote it from country to country...?

Cozumel, Mexico
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1,119 posts
10 reviews
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7. Re: sponges and coral

When I return to the States I do get asked if I have been to a farm. I never get asked if I have been to a beach.

I think shells are OK to bring back.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel
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7,082 posts
38 reviews
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8. Re: sponges and coral

Black coral is endangered, but I don't know if it is on a list of banned items. You'd need to check the US Customs website.

We brought a dog back on our last trip and Customs confiscated a zip lock bag of dry dog food. Of course they sort of knew to ask the question about "food" after seeing a pooch walking around on a leash.

Minneapolis...
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42 reviews
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9. Re: sponges and coral

I think the problem with some selling of shells is that demand can outstrip supply and then there's the temptation to "force" some coral or shells to "wash up on shore"....if you get my meaning.

I have picked up small pieces of coral and small shells from the beaches. I have also seen snorkelers coming ashore with bags filled with star fish, sand dollars, conch shells, etc. from the sea bottom. Not cool.

Some people are respectful....others aren't. Hard to draw a "line in the sand". ;)

Chicago, Illinois
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222 posts
7 reviews
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10. Re: sponges and coral

Once sponges are exposed to the air they are dead. If they roll on the shore due to waves,fin kicks and boat anchors etc, they will not survive. They grow from the buds left in the live rock at their base. We all take small momentos while combing the shoreside. Nobody is talking harvesting for profit.The beauty of the ocean is that it regenerates itself with good practices from humans. Look at pictures pre and post hurricanes, then 10 years later. A lot of live coral is consumed by parrotfish,which in turn defecate releasing calcium which is the building block for our reef system.Personally I would be more concerned about the amount of trash that we leave behind while on vacation than grabbing a dead shell washed upon the shore