British Marine Life Study Society

Shark and Rays

British Marine Life Study Society

                          The First  Annual Shark Trust Conference
                                            by Len Nevell

The first ever meeting of the newly formed 'Shark Trust' was held at the London Aquarium on Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th of April 1998.
Saturday's  talks were by:-
Sarah Fowler  - Welcome and launch of the Shark  Trust campaign.
Callum Rankine WWF-UK  -  WWF Shark Swim.
Lawson Wood  -  Whale shark tagging in the Seychelles.
Adrian & Graham  Tyte  -  Video: A shark the size of a whale.
Rolf Williams (NMA)  -  Shark fun at Bimini Biological Field Station.
Ian Fergussion (ESRB)  -  Great White sharks in the Mediterranean.
Clare Eno (JNCC)  -  Protection of the basking shark in the UK.
Paddy Walker (NISR)  -  Amazing Rays: the ecology of skates and rays in the North Sea.
Davy Holt  - The Glasgow Museum common skate tagging and release programme.
Philip Vas  - British sharks and rays.
Jo Pecorelli, Curator London Aquarium  -  Sharks at the London Aquarium.

I could only attend the Sunday meeting  which had more scientific subjects by Nick Dulvy, Tim Thom  and Jim Ellis of which  I was more interested in.
The main speakers were:-
Sarah Fowler  - Welcome speech.
Gordon Croft  - An Introduction to sharks.
Tim Thom, Mark O'Connell, Martyn Lucas and Rus Hoelzel (Durham University)  - The ecology of  planktivorous sharks-a multidisciplinary approach.
Julian Metcalfe (CEFAS, Lowestoft)  - Electronic tags for fish.
Linda Grotenbreg (MBS)  - Catsharks of Kleinbaal, South Africa.
Scott Mycock & Rachel Cavanagh (Liverpool University)  - Sharks and Rays of East Malaysia.
Jean-Sebastien Houziaux  - Sharks and rays fisheries records of  Belguim.
Paola Cordone, Marco Constantina and Giuliano Orel (University of Trieste, Italy)  -
The Benthic shark fishery in the Gulf of Trieste (Northern Adriatic Sea).
Nick Dulvy & John Reynolds (University of East Anglia)  - Temperature and the reproduction in sharks and rays.
Jim Ellis (CEFAS, Lowestoft)  - Comparative feeding ecology of Elasmobranch in British waters.
Peter Scott (MSC)  - The work of the Marine Stewardship Council.

The meetings covered a very wide range of  subjects and species during the two days, with experts and non-experts covering a wide range of  disciplines and who were will to answer any question you might have.
I started to talk to the person next to me and discovered he was also a BMLSS member Andy ----, who was at the Saturday meeting and  liked Davy Holt's talk on the giant skate tagging off Oban Scotland as it was more down to earth and not to scientific.
It is expensive at £30.00 per day but having  the opportunity to listen and be able to speak to so many experts in my opinion was worth the expends.
The price included a ticket for the London Aquarium which was very large, with two enormous marine tanks ( well over 1,000,000 litres in capacity each). One contained 3 very large tropical sharks and a large number of fish,  the other was the Atlantic Ocean tank which contained some smaller shark species and plenty of fish, plus a wide range of tanks for many other groups and species of fish.
The main reason is to support the Shark Trust for the importance of the sharks in keeping the seas and oceans clean of weak and dying fish and free from desease is of the utmost importance to the well being of our planet. They need as much protection as can be provided by us as a nation and world wide help is also very important.

Recommended Guide:

A Field Guide to the Sharks of British Coastal Waters

by Philip Vas

Field Studies Council Publications. Tel: 01743 850370.

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