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She sells sea shells… but she’s not allowed to

Why you cannot sell certain shells on Trade Me.

By Trade Me 5 February 2021

Found a heart-shaped shell while strolling along the beach and thinking about popping it on Trade Me?

Unfortunately Cupid, you’d be breaking the law.

Here in New Zealand, we’re pretty lucky to be surrounded by such awesome beaches and sea life.

In order to protect our beaches, the Ministry of Primary Industries has some laws in place which may apply if you’re thinking of selling shells on the site.

The Fisheries Act 1996, states that fish taken for the purposes of commercial trade cannot be sold without a permit.

This means you’re not able to sell that sweet snapper you caught on the weekend without having a permit to do so. And unless you own a fishing boat, it’s unlikely you do.

This also applies to dead fish that may wash up (giant squids and seahorses included), as well as sea shells, meaning that unless you’ve got a permit, they can’t be sold.

If you’ve imported some funky shells from overseas, no worries, shells that you’ve purchased commercially are OK to be on-sold.

This includes pieces of shells from NZ-based craft stores too.

What about whitebait?

These little critters slip through these regulations so whitebait can be sold on Trade Me sold by recreational fishers without permits.

Creative Commons image used courtesy Sarah-Rose on Flickr. 


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