Wednesday, 10 January 2007 00:00
E-SandWritten by WGCU Newsroom
Sanibel vacation packages; pastel paintings; pot holders; even bags full of shells supposedly from Sanibel’s beaches…all items up for sale at the online auction site eBay. But a Port St. Lucie Man found out the hard way that selling SAND from the barrier island is against the law.
While it is legal to take shell casings from Sanibel’s beaches…it’s illegal to remove living shells, starfish. It’s also illegal to remove the sand.
The City of Sanibel got a tip through their online comment form about a man in Port St. Lucie who was offering up ‘Genuine Sanibel Sand’ for 7-dollars a package on eBay.
Judy Zimomra is City Manager.
“Sanibel is one of the top 2 shelling destinations in the world. We have a very unique ecosystem on the beach. And if people decide to come up and harvest our sand and take it to other locations to use in construction material or to use in their homes as landscaping, etc. you’d be disrupting that entire ecosystem on the beach.”
Zimomra says they contacted eBay, which immediately took down the posting. Sanibel Chief of Police Bill Tomlinson then sent the seller a letter warning him that failure to cease and desist could result in fines or even jail time.
Removing sand, or live shells or animals, from any Florida beach can result in penalties up to 60 days in jail - and up to a 500-dollar fine per occurrence, per day.
A Port St. Lucie man is on notice with Sanibel authorities…after trying to sell sand from the barrier island on the online auction site eBay.
The City of Sanibel was tipped off through its online comment form the day after Christmas.
City Manager Judy Zimomra says they issued a warning, this time…
“The penalty is up to 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine per occurrence per day. So he’s now on written warning, and if for some reason he chose to ignore that warning we would be prepared to prosecute. It would be up to a judge to convict him and determine a sentence.”
Zimomra says eBay took down the posting immediately – once its illegality was explained.
And she says it didn’t really surprise her because Sanibel has such a recognized name around the world – and lots of people are looking for ways to make a buck.
It’s illegal to remove live shells or sand from all of Florida’s beaches.