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8th April 2003

Launch of the Great Eggcase Hunt  
The Easter Egg Hunt with a Difference


Event: Launch of the Great Eggcase Hunt

Location: Wembury Marine Centre, Plymouth, Devon

Time and Date: 11am to 4pm, Thursday 17th April 2003

This Easter, the Shark Trust will be launching an exciting new project, the Great Eggcase Hunt. Empty skate and ray eggcases - mermaid’s purses - wash up on beaches all around the country, meaning that anyone can get involved in helping scientists to learn more about these threatened animals. Join members of the Shark Trust for a fun day of activities to launch the Hunt on the 17th April 2003 at the Devon Wildlife Trust Marine Centre, Wembury Beach, Plymouth. The event is free and open to all ages.  

Skates and rays are close cousins of sharks and are members of one of the most ancient groups of fish on the planet, even older than the dinosaurs. Many skates and rays reproduce by laying leathery eggcases on the seabed, from which hatch miniature versions of their parents. The eggcases are tough and durable and storms often wash them up onto beaches to be found by keen-eyed beachcombers.

Because of over-fishing, the numbers of skate and rays around our coastline are declining dramatically and many are in danger of extinction. With a 2 metre wingspan, the Common Skate is the largest skate species in Europe. Once abundant in our seas, sadly, they have all but disappeared. The Great Eggcase Hunt will help scientists to gather information about skates and rays, which in turn will help us to protect these threatened animals.

Eggcase hunting can be done at any time of the year. Just grab your mates and head for the beach! A simple walk can turn into an exciting conservation expedition. To find out about other events happening around the country visit the Shark Trust website: www.sharktrust.org.

The launch of the Great Eggcase Hunt has been made possible by the generous support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Skates and Ray facts:

* Skates and rays belong to the family Rajidae.

* Each species lays eggcases in different shapes and sizes, designed to be entangled in seabed plants and animals [this is only hornsharks; stick to skates and rays] or buried in the seabed.

* Common Skates lay eggcases up to 24cm long.

* Each eggcase contains a baby - or embryo – that feeds off a yolk sac, just like a chick inside a hen’s egg.

* Newly hatched sharks, skates and rays immediately feed and fend for themselves.

* Egg-laying is a relatively unusual form of reproduction among shark, skates and rays. Most sharks and stingrays give birth to live young.

* Skates and rays are predators, feeding on animals on or near the seabed.

* Skate and ray fisheries around the UK are currently virtually unmanaged, with most stocks at very low levels due to overfishing.

* Skates and rays are slow-growing and can take more than a decade to develop into mature adults capable of egg-laying – provided that they can survive unregulated fisheries for long enough.

The Shark Trust is calling for strict legal protection in British waters for the Common Skate and three other large skate species.
 

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A Voyage of Discovery 11 April 2003


Come aboard the 120ft tall ship Bessie Ellen for a weekend of marine science. Learn more about the oceans and the life they contain from the on-board marine scientist. Trips will take place during the basking shark season along the south coast of Devon and Cornwall.

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The Bessie Ellen was first built in plymouth in 1904, and is one of the last surviving West Country trading ketches. Now back in Plymouth, nearly 100 years from the time she was built, Bessie Ellen has now been restored to the graceful sailing ship she once was. At 120 feet long she makes a stunning platform from which to go in search of basking sharks.

Bessie Ellen has a very exciting weekend planned with The Shark Trust for the weekend 9/10/11 May. As the weather systems change and we head towards summer, the warmer currents bring a range of different species not normally associated with this part of the world. Basking sharks arrive in areas along the SW coast feeding on the plankton trails that arrive on the warmer currents. They are shy creatures but we hope to catch sight of them on our voyage. We may land on a beach and walk up to a cliff top for an aerial view. Our main aim is to try and photograph them for The Shark Trust’s photo identification project as well as recording position,time of sighting, conditions, behaviour etc. At the end of the voyage all of this information will be sent back to The Shark Trust to be logged for use in their work and the photographs will go on to their website.

We will have up to date information of where Basking sharks have been spotted or are likely to be and with a knowledgeable guide on board we stand a good chance of catching a glimpse of these magnificent creatures, though of course we can not guarantee it. However we can guarantee that you will have a memorable weekend enjoying traditional sailing and seeing some of the great variety of marine wildlife that inhabits this stunning coastline with the benefit of a local marine wildlife guide.

The voyage price includes FREE membership to The Shark Trust for a year.

For further details & bookings go to:

http://www.bessie-ellen.com/sail/
 

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I've had a few shark fins in my freezer for a while now. Whats the best way to cook and eat them......

Peter
 

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Peter.

I found best results for shark fins as follows:

1. Hard boil and peel two Ospey eggs
2. Chop and shallow fry the sharks fins
3. De-fur one Panda ear and warm through
4. Grind the claws from Siberian Tiger
5. Add all ingredients to Elephant foot cooking pot
6. Simmer for 10 mins
7. Serve with green salad
8. Garnish with ground Rhino horn

Yummy

Cheers

Mark
 

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Bugger! I had the Ospreys for Christmas lunch. Could the eggs be substituted with Golden Eagle eggs?

Crap joke;
A poacher is walking through Balmoral estate one night with a bucket containing two Salmon. Out of the dark the Gamekeeper jumps out and demands to know what is in the bucket. The poacher replies "It's my pet Salmon. Every night I bring them here and let them swim about for 1/2 hour or so. When I whistle the Salmon come to the shore and jump back into the bucket".
Unsurprisingly the Gamekeeper is dubious. "Right", he says "You will show me that this is true, but I warn you, these are the Queens fish and if you are lying then it's the big house for you".
"OK!" said the poacher.
The pair of them go back to the river where the poacher drops the two fish in.
After a while the gamekeeper says " Right, whistle your Salmon back in".
"Salmon", The poacher retorts, "What fu**ing Salmon?"

Peter
 
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