|Spend the time||outdoors|
Shark Trust: Great eggcase hunt
|Find shark + ray nurseries to understand species distribution.|
|Hunt for empty eggcases that have been washed ashore.|
Shark Trust is building a database of shark sightings across the ocean.
Submitting your sightings not only lets you share with the world the animals you have seen, but it also generates important data for researchers and conservationists working with sharks, skates and rays around the world. Your sightings will contribute to our understanding of many species, providing some of the best available data for their management, helping ensure a sustainable future for sharks, skates and rays.
With over 600 species of skate and ray worldwide, at least 16 species have been regularly recorded in UK coastal waters; most of these species reproduce by laying tough leathery eggcases on the seabed. Of more than 30 species of British sharks, only two species lay eggcases that are commonly found on our beaches; the Smallspotted Catshark and the Nursehound.
Each eggcase contains one embryo which will develop over several months into a miniature shark, skate or ray. Once empty, the eggcases often wash ashore and can be found among the strandline on beaches.
The Great Eggcase Hunt aims to get as many people as possible hunting for eggcases that have either been washed ashore, or are found by divers and snorkelers underwater. In recent decades, several species of shark, skate and ray around the British coast have dramatically declined in numbers. The empty eggcases (or mermaid’s purses) are an easily accessible source of information on the whereabouts of potential nursery grounds and will provide the Trust with a better understanding of species abundance and distribution.
Funding for this project, provided by Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) and the Co-operative, assures the continued expansion of this exciting, flagship project. With this support, the Shark Trust is building upon the existing project, which represents one of the UK’s most popular marine volunteer recording programs.