Twenty-one sharks were seen at Bournemouth beach last weekend. The powerful shortfin mako, porbeagle, thresher and the second largest shark in the world, the basking shark, were all spotted by lucky beachgoers. Don’t panic though! These sharks were all made of sand. They were part of Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Shark Sand-Sculpture Competition for European Shark Week. Event organiser, Dorset Wildlife Trust volunteer Marc Smith, said: “You would actually be very lucky and privileged if you managed to see any of these sharks in the water; they are unfortunately quite rare now. These sharks are threatened in the UK and are in serious trouble around the world”.
A large turnout and lots of winners!
Over 100 people turned up for the competition at Bournemouth, which raised awareness of the plight of these top marine predators. Marc added: “It was a great day; groups of friends and families spent the day in the sunshine creating their masterpieces. Everybody had so much fun; they learned about British sharks and more importantly they have shown their support for shark conservation.”
The winners of the competition were Tracy Elliot with her children Molly and Millie aged 7 and 5, who had teamed up with Sarah Mitchell and her children Dylan, Noah and Gracie aged 9, 6 and 4. The judges were looking for creativity, quality and effort, and ages were of course taken into consideration. The winning team cleverly put 100 million on the shark which is one estimate of the amount of sharks that are killed each year for meat, for their fins or as by-catch.
No more old fashioned views
Sallie and Nicky Stradwick’s team were runners up. Helped by Lauren, Amy and Alice Stradwick-Snell, aged 14, 6, and 3, they made a hammerhead shark, nursehound and a ray. In 3rd place was Serene aged 10. Marc said “Lots of imagination and effort went into all of the sharks; it was extremely tough judging the winners”. Lucky winners got to ‘adopt’ a basking or white shark. Other prizes up for grabs included an aqua sports snorkel kit, family tickets to the Bournemouth Oceanarium, and lots of shark related prizes including books, DVDs, bags, top trumps and school kits. The event was supported by Abbey Life Assurance Company.
Also on the day 65 signatures were collected from adults urging members of the European Parliament to close loopholes in the EU finning ban which still allows the barbaric practice of shark finning to take place. Marc Smith added: “sharks are in real trouble in our oceans but today clearly shows that we have moved on from Jaws. People no longer share the old fashioned view that sharks are mindless killers. Sharks are now rightfully recognised for the important role that they play in our oceans; top predators holding the oceans in balance. I think people now understand how important it is to protect them.”
Find out more
To see more pictures of Dorset Wildlife Trusts’ Shark Sand-Sculpting Competition visit our Facebook page. To sign the petition urging EU fisheries ministers to protect sharks from overexploitation and finning, visit the Shark Alliance Petition website and you can also sign The Wildlife Trusts’ urgent petition for sea life protection at Petition Fish.
1st Place: The Winners - Tracy Elliot and her children Molly and Millie aged 7 and 5 with Sarah Mitchell and her children Dylan, Noah and Gracie aged 9, 6 and 4.
2nd Place: Runners up - Sallie and Nicky Stradwick with Lauren, Amy and Alice Stradwick-Snell aged 14, 6, and 3.
3rd Place: 3rd place - Serene aged 10
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
For our latest news RSS feed, see /c2/rss/dwt_latest_news.xml
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
3rd place shark’s mouth made by 10 year old Serene.
2nd place nursehound, hammerhead and small ray made by Sallie and Nicky Stradwick and Lauren, Amy and Alice Stradwick-Snell (aged 14, 6 and 3).
Winners Sarah Mitchell with Dylan, Noah and Gracie (aged 9, 6 and 4) and Tracy Elliot with Molly and Millie (aged 7 and 5).
All photos taken by Steve Trewhella UKCoastalWildlife.