The Discovery Passage Aquarium wants your shells!
As part of a new initiative, the aquarium is asking people to bring in their collected and unused sea shells to be re-placed on local beaches and dive sites.
“This campaign focuses on reclaiming native shell species that have been collected… for crafts, decorations or other purposes, and now reside in many local residents’ homes,” according to a press release from the aquarium.
Shells do not just sit on the sea floor, but provide essential homes for animals. Hermit crabs, fish and octopuses all use shells for protection. However, these shells are often in short supply, causing competition between species.
“We are looking for ecologically important shells, such as moon snail shells, acorn barnacle shells and whelk shells,” said marine biologist and aquarium curator Ricky Belanger. “Although, all species of shells are important to maintaining healthy oceans.”
Shells are made of calcium, which dissolves over time. That calcium then is used by other shell-forming animals to make new shells.
If you have shells sitting in your basement, in storage or acting as a paperweight in your office, the aquarium would like to give them back to the ocean. The shell drive runs until July 31. Shells can be dropped off at the Discovery Passage Aquarium, located at 621B Island Highway across from the Discovery Pier between 10 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. People who donate shells will be given a free day pass, and aquarium staff will help identify donated shells.