Egg Case Hunts
The Great Egg Case Hunt is a citizen science project set up by the Shark Trust. These events are designed not only to generate more interest in UK sharks and rays, but to encourage beachgoers to help collect vital data to better protect them.
Contrary to popular belief sharks do indeed live in UK waters. Skates and rays can also be found here, with 16 species being regularly recorded. Although it may be unlikely for you to encounter them on a trip to the beach, evidence of some can be found along the strandline.
The empty egg cases, commonly referred to as Mermaid’s purses, regularly wash up onto beaches providing an easily accessible source of information. Each egg case is distinctive in its colour, size and shape, so it is possible to identify which species produced it, making them a very valuable and easily accessible resource. This data, when fed into the Sharks Trust central database, provides scientists with a crucial insight into where potential nursery grounds are located and their population numbers. This information is crucial to informing marine conservation strategies around the UK coastline.
The North East coastline is significantly lacking in data submissions in compasirion to the rest of the country. In 2017, an egg case of the Spotted ray was discovered - one of only three to have been found and reported along the Yorkshire coast - and three Lesser spotted cat shark egg case were found at Flamborough South Landing, providing vital information on their distribution. Due to the storms that hit our region during early 2018, we have seen a notable increase in shark and ray egg cases being washed ashore. During the June Egg Case Hunt at Spurn Point we collected an astounding 562 egg cases!
Undertaking an egg case hunt is a great way to contribute to shark conservation and we would love more beachgoers to help collect vital data to better protect these species, Find out more information on the Great Egg Case Hunt on the Sharks Trust website. Find out when our next hunt is taking place by viewing our upcoming events.
Spurn Point, UK
- We have over 40 shark species frequenting the British coastline – including some of the fastest, rarest and largest in the world.
- At least 21 of these sharks have made the UK their permanent home, living in our waters year round.
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