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ABOUT US..

  Australian Seashells P/L is an online business, owned and operated by Hugh Morrison and Simone Pfuetzner.
We are located in Perth, Western Australia
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HISTORY

Hugh Morrison has been collecting shells since childhood. His love of shells originally led to his involvement in the scuba diving industry in the early 70's, followed by a long career as Australian professional scuba instructor trainer, author and manager of Perth Diving Academy P/L.
While leading diving expeditions around the world, Hugh has been finding and enjoying shells for the last 40 years or so, which eventually prompted him to turn one of his passions into a secondary career and open a seashell business.

Australian Seashells was founded when Simone Pfuetzner arrived in Australia in 1995. Simone is a fellow diver and goldsmith, mainly focusing on the art, craft & design aspects of seashells. Together, Hugh & Simone run what is now Australia's largest licensed seashell dealership, besides also being professionally involved with scuba diving. We increasingly spend time now on finding and describing new marine and terrestrial shell species.


ABOUT US

Our keen interest in all things natural history / marine biology / dive travel and our association with likeminded people around the globe informs what we offer online, incl. selections of recent seashell reference literature and journals. We distribute books, buy & sell seashells (including entire collections), mainly in Australia, Europe and the US. We exhibit regularly and travel to the main annual International seashell events and conventions around the world.

Sustainability and the environment are a constant concern for us. Our location in Perth, Western Australia happily enjoys one of the most comprehensive, successful commercial fishing managements worldwide. The fishing of specimen shells is strictly regulated by the WA Fisheries Department, which only issues a very limited number of licenses to professionals. Avoiding unlawful trade with CITES (https://cites.org) listed species is a priority and we always aim to source all our decorative / bulk seashell material solely from reputable and responsible suppliers.

Hugh has been donating specimens, time and expertise to assist curators in the Western Australian Museum marine invertebrate department for decades. He is scuba diving and taking part in scientific expeditions to discover and describe new species in his spare time. When diving around Australia over many years, you can't help but notice the increasingly heavy pressure on local marine ecosystems (Watch JEN 'Charlie' Veron's illuminating 2009 Royal Society talk on the subject of Australia's Great Barrier Reef here).

This also affects the over 20,000 km long, largely remote Western Australian coastline, which is now faced with habitat loss from pollution and the increasing impact of global climate change. As the focus for most governments unfortunately lies elsewhere, museums and conservation staff around the world are habitually underfunded. Scientists are increasingly fighting a losing battle when trying to record the existing global biodiversity before it is gone. It's a major problem, as scientific collections and the associated work are so important (see SPNHC.org). However, we can't keep up anymore - we're now losing species around the world faster than we can find, identify, name and describe them. See laplaneterevisitee.org for more info.
Australian Seashells is contributing local specimen data to the Encyclopedia Of Life Project (EOL), as we very much hope to at least record what we can - preferably before it's too late! The EOL database is aiming to become the largest free access global database for marine and terrestrial biodiversity information. The first step here is to gather detailed and accurate local information - then pooling of the global biodiversity data in turn will hopefully enable much faster identification, management and protection of at risk habitats.

All of the above issues happen to coincide with a gradual, but fundamental shift in scientific education. Although practical knowledge of taxonomy (i.e. external characteristics / morphology) is invaluable for quick ID assessment, it is no longer part of the modern scientific teaching, which instead encourages specialisation (i.e. molecular studies) over a conceptual approach (i.e. taxonomy). Many Natural History Museums around the world struggle with staff shortages and will gladly welcome assistance from knowledgeable amateurs: "Amateur naturalists play an important role in monitoring, recording and conserving nature" (see NatSCA.org).

If you have a passion for the natural world and feel that you can contribute, why not contact your local museum? We encourage you to volunteer!

 

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