Though it may be tempting to take a little bit of the Virgin Islands’ marine life home with you, it’s a big no-no here.
Every year customs officials confiscate about 260 pounds of coral and shells from tourists trying to leave the territory with a little marine memory or two.
But those shells and corals play an impossible-to-replace role in the underwater ecosystem and swiping them can have adverse consequences for reef life. Shells, for example, provide homes for small animals, and break down into the sand that lines the shores.
Also, don’t forget to steer well clear of the coral when snorkeling or scuba diving. Not only does it hurt to touch it, but kicking, stepping on or even touching living corals can harm them.