Professional (i.e. commercial) fossil collectors can and do use sites responsibly. They benefit palaeontology by finding new fossils. Control of this collecting is counterproductive on eroding coasts and new exposures opened up by such collectors. Irresponsible professional collectors are not a major cause of damage compared to other collectors, quarry infilling, and coastal defences. The trade in fossils is not unethical and has many benefits, such as increasing public appreciation of fossils, and the readier availability of genuine specimens. This may help to overcome the financial devaluation of fossils and its unfortunate results for museums and geological sites. The work of professional collectors raises the broader questions of collecting, the sale of fossils, and the use of sites by the general public, in the context of palaeontological site management.
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