4th December 2018

Following on from completing her training period earlier in the year, Deep Aquarist, Shoshana, has returned to the New England Aquarium Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Over the 3 weeks, she will be putting into practise valuable skills that aim to save the lives of hundreds of sea turtles.

As winter approaches, sea turtles should make their way south to warmer tropical waters as the waters around Cape Cod Bay becomes too cold. However, each year, as many as 800 turtles do not make the journey in time. Trapped by the hook shape of the bay, the turtles can become disoriented. When the water reaches about 10°C by mid-November, the turtles are too cold to eat, drink, or swim, and become “cold-stunned.” Often they are suffering from life-threatening hypothermia, emaciation, dehydration or injuries. 

Thrown into the thick of it this past week, Shoshana has been working days and nights with the team, assisting in the rehabilitation of stranded turtles, administering immediate and vital care to get them back onto the road of recovery.

Shoshana says “We have had around 400 turtles admitted to the centre already. It’s proving to be one of their busiest seasons so far, which has included a 300lb Loggerhead, the largest they have ever rescued. The size and condition of her carapace suggests she is very old, but we cannot for sure say what age she may be”

“I have been getting quite involved as the turtles arrive at the centre. Raising the turtle’s body temperature is a delicate process, increasing it too quickly can cause more damage. So when they come in, they all go into pools at 12.5°C, this is then increased by 5 degrees each day until they are well enough to go into the largest pool, which is maintained at 22°C.

“The coldest I have encountered this past week was a Kemp ridley’s turtle whose internal temperature was 7.4°C - it was so cold in my hands, I couldn’t believe it was still alive! For extreme case like these, where the turtle is very weak and not breathing well, they are offered more assistance. They are placed on a neoprene ‘surfboard’ to help keep them afloat in the water until they are strong enough to break the surface and take good breaths on their own”.

Each turtle in the centre is continually and critically assessed until they are deemed strong enough to return to the ocean and complete their migration down to warmer waters. With two more weeks of work ahead, Shoshana is keeping us updated on her time at the centre. Stay tuned for more news soon.


Across the globe, there are seven different species of Sea turtle living in our world’s oceans, all of which are registered on the IUCN Red List. Six of these – Green, Leatherback, Kemp Ridley’s, Loggerhead and the Olive Ridley – can be found throughout the oceans, in both warm and cold waters. The seventh species, the Flatback turtle, lives only in Australia.



12th November 2018

Since the initial funding from The Deep, The IUCN Penguin Specialist Group have made headway in developing the Global Penguin Conservation Strategy, identifying the key areas for research, conservation and species priorities.

Of the 18 species of penguin across the globe, it was determined, through the examination of population trends and geographical range, that the species in most need of conservation action are the Yellow-eyed penguins, African penguins and the Galapagos penguins.

In addition to the focal species, twelve research and conservation needs were identified to improve the long term survival of penguins into the future. These included; enhanced marine spatial planning, the development of species-specific conservation action plans and continuing public outreach and education. The global impact of micro-plastics on penguins was also raised as a research priority.

The next phase will be to develop a manuscript that summarizes the research, conservation and species priorities outlined and to prepare and coordinate presentations and species evaluations in preparation for the 10th International Penguin Congress in Dunedin, New Zealand during August 24-29 2019.

In 2014, The Deep launched Project Penguin, a campaign to help raise awareness and fund crucial conservation efforts for the world’s penguin populations. Since its inception, we have supported and funded the continued research of the Galapagos Conservation Trust into the decline of the Galapagos penguin, which informs the management strategies on the islands.

We have also supported colleagues at Bristol Zoo in their efforts to bolster African Penguin populations in South Africa. Donated funds allowed urgent care to be administered to rescued and abandoned penguin chicks at The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). Since opening in 2006, SANCCOB has released over 4,000 penguins back into the wild.

The money donated has been raised by The Deep’s generous customers, dropping loose change into a number of ‘money spinners’ within building. Working on a global scale, supported by governments and local communities the development of this crucial document will identify the global priorities and resources required to stabilise penguin populations into the future.



2nd November 2018

Thank you to everyone who has helped out with our egg case hunts in 2018, braving winter weather, rain and storms galore. Over 157 amazing volunteers (adults and children) joined us across our 4 events and found a whopping 693 egg cases!

This year has seen the most amount of egg cases discovered! During our June event at Spurn Point, 562 egg cases were collected in just 2 hours. However with storms battering our coast earlier in the year, such as the devastation caused from ‘The Beast from the East’, it is likely that these stronger tides have increased the number of egg cases being washed ashore.

The volume recorded clearly demonstrates that, without a doubt, we have a healthy population of sharks living off our coastline.

In comparison to the rest of the country, the Yorkshire coastline is dramatically under documented, but thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and by driving more awareness of our native sharks and rays, we are seeing a considerable turnaround.

Across the globe there are over 600 species of skate and ray; 16 of these have been regularly recorded in UK coastal waters. They reproduce by laying tough leathery egg cases, each of which contains a single embryo. After a number of months incubating on the seabed, anchored to rocks or seaweeds, a fully formed pup emerges. Of the 30 species of shark that frequent our shores, only three of these produce egg cases; the Smallspotted catshark, the Nursehound and the Blackmouth shark. Once hatched, these empty egg cases wash ashore in the changing tides, offering a valuable and easily accessible source of information.

Cat Gordon, Conservation Officer at The Shark Trust said: "The Great Eggcase Hunt has logged over 200,000 mermaid’s purses since the project began in 2003. If you take a look at the results maps on the Shark Trust Website you’ll see that the majority of the UK coastline has been well represented thanks to eagle-eyed citizen scientists. These records give us a good indication of the broad distribution of egg laying sharks and skates.

“We typically get more egg cases submitted from the west coast than from the east. However sticking out into the North Sea at the mouth of the Humber Estuary, Spurn Point seems to offer a good egg case hunting spot. Smallspotted Catshark egg cases are the most likely find along with Spotted Rays and Thornback Rays, but the occasional Starry Skate egg case can also be seen. We’ve had over 1000 egg cases recorded from here this year, with half of these found during The Deep/Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s dedicated events. While the Great Eggcase Hunt documents ad hoc finds, if beaches can be surveyed regularly then each year we can compare results and see how numbers fluctuate."

Information collected from all our events, run in conjunction with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, has now been submitted to The Shark Trust to contribute to UK shark conservation efforts, so a big thank you to everyone who helped.

With more events planned for 2019, there are lots more opportunities to become citizen scientists. Watch our website for more details.

To find out more about how to submit your own egg case finds, visit The Shark Trust Great Eggcase Hunt.



25th October 2018

Today, The Deep was delighted to welcome a group of 17 Animal Care students from Bishop Burton College, with a mission of creating native wildlife haven on the banks of the River Hull in a of under-utilised urban scrubland.

The students will be volunteered their time as part of their work experience programme and planted 60m of native hedging, including species such as Hawthorn, Crab apple, Field maple and Dog rose to develop a new site for wildlife to move into.

As the plants mature, they will see the arrival of wide a variety of species including insects, spiders, birds and even small mammals such as hedgehogs (now classed as an endangered species), a once common creature which could be completely lost from the UK by 2020.

Rebecca Oldridge of Bishop Burton College explains why the project is so crucial to the college: “Work experience is a vital component of any animal care course, and I wanted to take the students somewhere where they could see the difference they would make as a result of their hard work. They will learn the value of conserving habitats and green spaces, be able to relate ecological systems and food chains to their work and improve their identification skills of plants and animals. They can be proud of assisting and experiencing the wider work involved in conservation.

“Providing the opportunity for additional teamwork and volunteering, the site we will be working on can be followed up with future visits, not only with this particular group of students to see the progress, but other courses that study topics related to ecology and environmental biology as part of their Animal Management course.

“The animal industry is huge and varied and this experience serves to show the wide range of tasks that can be undertaken to help animals and the environment, showing the students further options for their progression through their education.”

After rotivating the ground in preparation for planting, Stoneledge Aggregates kindly donated two tons of top soil to aid in the community initiative. As well as the hedging plants, Photenia and Red robin will also be added to allow staff from The Deep to harvest the leaves to feed a variety of their insects.

Phill Robinson, Aquarist and Invertebrate Keeper at The Deep said: “It’s great to have this support from Bishop Burton College. The work the students are undertaking will help increase the diversity and availability of plants in the area, which is vital to the care of some of our animals. The species being planted will also ensure we have plenty of varieties to not only cover the summer months, but the winter too.”

After the initial planting has taken place and the new habitat has been able to establish itself, the management of the site will be continued to be maintained by a community of volunteers and utilised as an area for student projects relating to ecological study and management.

Banner Delegates from 27 countries come to Hull for European conference

Delegates from 27 countries come to Hull for European conference

18th October 2018

Producers of artificial coral, marine salt and venom gloves are among the exhibitors at a conference hosted by The Deep which has brought leaders of Europe’s aquarium industry to Hull this week.

Top of the agenda as the European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC) kicked off its event was plastics pollution, with delegates receiving a rallying call from an East Yorkshire schoolgirl.

Nine-year-old Lucie Parsons, from Walkington near Beverley, followed the welcome by Katy Duke, Chief Executive of The Deep, and João Falcato, President EUAC, with the first speech of the conference – and she used it to challenge the industry.

Lucie asked the audience of more than 150 people form 30 different countries: “What will you do? What will aquariums do to help? People go to aquariums to see beautiful fish but they need to know how harmful plastics are. Please, I am begging you, help me do something about this. We are the future and this is our planet.

“By the time I get to 40 there could be more plastic in the sea than there are fish. We all need to do something to stop this. The plastic we use is hurting all the sea life and I feel very upset about this.”

The conference, which last took place in the UK at London Zoo in 1990, will run until Thursday evening, with a sharp focus on conservation and sustainability during presentations and workshops at The Deep Business Centre and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Hull.

In 2017 The Deep hosted the annual general meeting of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). It was chosen as the venue for the latest event by EUAC members at their 2017 conference at Burger4s’ Zoo, Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Katy outlined the work of The Deep and its success as a tourist attraction and conservation centre, having attracted 7.5 million visitors since opening nearly 16 years ago.

She said: “The conference is great recognition for us professionally and a good opportunity for us to showcase the work that we do. It is also important to the region – for the majority of delegates this is their first visit to The Deep and to Yorkshire and we are generating business for hotels and restaurants.

“The event is the result of a year’s worth of planning and we have got delegates here from 30 different countries so we want to put on a good show and make sure they feel welcome and have a fantastic experience of Hull and everything that Hull has to offer.

“We asked Lucie to speak because we have done a lot of work on plastics at the Deep and that is something that unites us globally now. Aquariums have an important role to play in terms of disseminating information. Our audiences are enormous and we are a great vehicle to promote plastics awareness and start making a difference in the work that we do.”

Plan your visit

Opening Times

  • Open daily from 10am until 6pm. We are closed on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
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The Deep Tower Street, Hull, HU1 4DP

01482 381000 Any questions?

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The Deep takes the safety and security of its staff and visitors seriously and continue to work with Counter Terrorism Police Officers to review security regimes on a regular basis. Whilst the details of such plans cannot be shared we have in place measures to respond to changes in the threat levels for international terrorism. In light of recent events the security within the building and external spaces has been reviewed.

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