BIA would like to remind all departing airline passengers that the transport of marine souvenirs—shells, corals, sea fans, sponges, or any other similar artifacts that originated in the sea—from the island is expressly forbidden by law. Not only is the collection of such souvenirs violating the regulations of the Bonaire National Marine Park, but it also violates the CITES Convention, of which The Netherlands has been a member country since 1984. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments and its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Luggage and carry-on items of departing passengers may be legally searched, and should items be found that violate these laws, the items will be confiscated. Penalties, and even arrest, may result, so BIA urges its departing visitors to leave those items on the beach and “take only memories, leave only footprints.”