Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct for the members of the Netherlands Malacological Society

Basic Principles

The Netherlands Malacological Society aims to exercise, stimulate, and distribute malacology and all that is related to it. Fieldwork is the basis of research on mollusc systematics, but also for ecology, biodiversity studies, ecological base line studies / impact studies, etc. The study of and conservation and protection of mollusc faunas in particular and flora and fauna in general regularly conflict. Therefore the General Assembly decided to set up a Code of Conduct, which will serve as a guide during activities of the society as a whole and of individual members.


A1. This Code of Conduct is especially meant to help the members by providing them guidance on what is acceptable and what not, not to limit their actions.

A2. The Code of Conduct also serves to express the members’ concern about the general deterioration of the environment, and especially damage to biotopes.

A3. It is hoped that the Code of Conduct will stimulate the discussion (both amongst members and between members and the outside world) regarding activities and their influence on the environment, as well as the exchange of information regarding what is legally allowed or disallowed in different countries.


B1. The Code will be brief and concise (more detailed transactions and discussions regarding specific subjects can be discussed at meetings or in Spirula/ Correspondentieblad).

B2. The Code of Conduct will be a code of honour, an advice.

B3. The “huishoudelijk reglement” of the society will mention that a Code of Conduct exists, and that members are expected to voluntarily adhere to it, especially during activities organised by the society.

B4. The Code of Conduct will be adjusted when required, for example when there are changes in ethics or law.

What to do when collecting

C1. Follow local, national and international rules and laws concerning species and habitats. Protected species must not be disturbed. This relates not only to molluscs, but all flora and fauna. Members are expected to gather relevant information regarding this subject.

C2. Where required, ask the owner/manager of the visited area for permission to collect, especially in case of protected nature areas, for group visits and when live specimens are collected.

C3. Think about the potential damage collection activities can bring to populations, the biotope / geological outcrop, and consider whether collecting in the biotope / outcrop concerned is justified. (For example, where a biotope / outcrop is threatened, should it be left alone or on the contrary should it be studied, either to use the data to impact a formal decision regarding the destruction of the biotope / outcrop by say construction or protection of the biotope / species, or to use the opportunity to collect material for scientific research, maybe for the last time.)

C4. During collection activities, minimise disturbance of / damage to biotopes / outcrops and the populations which are being studied / sampled. Habitat destruction is the main threat to molluscs (and other organisms). Although large-scale destruction mainly originates from other causes such as deforestation, construction activities and pollution, collectors can also exert a substantial influence when they do not stick to some simple rules, such as:
• First think why the sampling is done and how much material is needed – to avoid the material later being thrown away;
• First think why the sampling is done and how much material is needed – to avoid the material later being thrown away;
• At a specific location, never collect more than a small part of a population, especially if the biotope is small and/or the specimens are easily visible;
• Collect at unknown localities, rather than those localities known because of the occurrence of rare or threatened species;
• Think of photography as an alternative to collecting, especially where large marine specimens are concerned;
• Spare live juvenile specimens and do not disturb animals that are reproducing;
• Limit the overturning of hard objects (such as stones, corals, tree trunks), the pulling aside of vegetation, etc. and always return these carefully to their original position;
• Geological outcrops: carefully plan the digging into soft deposits, both for your own safety and to avoid destruction of the outcrop; leave everything as much as possible in the same condition as you found it, so that others will also receive permission to dig; in outcrops in harder rocks – especially where it is expected that the material will not erode quickly – the damage caused by hammering should be reduced to a minimum.
• Avoid damage to the possessions of other people.

C5. Only collect live material when there is a good reason to do so, for example for the study of living animals, anatomical studies, for breeding, for consumption, because dead material is not available or is in a much poorer condition, etc.

What to do with collected material

D1. When living animals have been collected because of their shells or for consumption, the suffering of such animals should be minimised, for example by killing them as fast and as efficient as possible.

D2. When living material has been collected (this includes soil samples and litter for the study of terrestrial molluscs) the risk of distributing species (also non-molluscs) outside their natural areal should be minimised. This can be done by killing the material (for example by boiling, freezing). In many countries the import and export of soil samples is forbidden or subject to stringent rules.

D3. In order to secure the scientific value of collected material, every sample should have a label with at least data regarding sample location (exact locality, biotope, conditions and for fossils if possible the stratigraphic interval) and date. Wherever possible, important collections and related documentation should be preserved for later generations, e.g. after a collector passes away, the collection could be donated to a natural history museum.

D4. Wherever possible, interesting observations should be communicated to other interested parties, via publication, lectures, e-mail or internet. In case this concerns specific occurrences of threatened species or biotopes it is recommended to provide precise information to official bodies, but to provide less precise information in publications to avoid targeted sampling by others.

D5. Valuable material and collections should as much as possible be accessible for study by other researchers. In the biosciences scientific research, especially regarding systematics, is strongly dependent on the gathering of material by many.