The New York Times reports that there is growing concern about the widespread consumption of the Chambered Nautilus. I won’t go into details about the animal, but it lives in a very intricate shell. People want to buy its shell (and kill the living creature inside) because it is pretty to look at and makes attractive jewelry. Apparently, they have been disappearing on a steady basis because people show them “too much love.”
I had never heard of this animal before I found the article, but a quick search on eBay showed that it really is in high demand – and the shells are not very cheap.
Marine Biologists have been studying this species decline in order to determine if they should try to have it listed as an endangered species to stop the consumer trade of the shell. Although it is not found in any waters near the U.S., the FWS has sent in scientists to analyze its habitat. They have found that the creature is not nearly as prevalent as it used to be. As of right now, there are no measures in palce that put quotas on fishing for the creature – so fisherman can catch and sell as many as they want.
The article was interesting to me because I did not think the FWS had that much power outside of the U.S. Can the Commerce Clause be expanded that much? Maybe they could argue the shells are being sold in the U.S. market. Or perhaps they are just finding specific numbers for others to use to decide if the creature should be endangered?