Article: Fossil collecting and site conservation in Britain: are they reconcilable?
David B. Norman
Collecting fossils for scientific study or as a pastime activity can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. However, the motives for collecting fossils, which can range from pure scientific research through hobby collections to commercial enterprise, can present the genuine scientist, hobbyist/collector or legislator with a variety of challenging and conflicting points of view. Imposing legislation which will allow collecting through a permit system is appropriate only in a restricted number of cases and is generally regarded unwieldy, open to abuse and expensive to implement, and may in the longer term damage the scientific value of most sites. However, adopting a totally laissez-faire approach to all sites runs the risk of complete loss fossil localities through over-collection and destruction of specimens. Options for dealing with this paradoxical situation are discussed and some recommendations proposed.