The Deep News - October 2018



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.”

Banner Exciting new mascot revealed at The Deep for International Sawfish Day 2018

Exciting new mascot revealed at The Deep for International Sawfish Day 2018

17th October 2018

To celebrate International Sawfish Day 2018 The Deep, in collaboration with artist Nikita Spires, are delighted to present a 3.5 metre life size sawfish sculpture, beautifully decorated by local wool shop and crochet group, Babes in the Wool. Lovingly named Lola, it is hoped that the sculpture will help to raise awareness of this threatened species, which are on the brink of extinction.

Artist Nikita Spires said: “What an experience! Creating a true purpose and meaning for my art, while doing an exciting collaboration with the talented crochet group. I’ve never done a sculpture/collaboration before. Working with a brand-new media, and a challenging size (3.5 metres) for my first ever sculpture. As I specialise in painting normally. I am so excited to be a part of conservation of sawfish with The Deep.”

Lesley, of Babes in the Wool added: “We were so thrilled to be invited to join in this community project. We had so much fun decorating Lola and have a new found love for sawfish. We think she looks fantastic and hope everyone else does too!”

We have some exciting things planned for the day. If you are visiting us on International Sawfish Day, come down and meet Lola, our sawfish mascot, as well as enjoying some special activities - our guides will be doing regular sawfish talks throughout the day, as well as badge making and colouring in Craft Corner. Our team in Castaways Cafe are also cooking up some tasty sawfish themed treats including delicious home-made biscuits. All money raised will go directly towards sawfish conservation.

International Sawfish Day is an annual event to raise awareness of these vulnerable animals and to highlight the threats they face in order to safeguard their future. Launched in partnership with Sawfish Conservation Society (SCS), the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) and Associations of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2017, now in its second year, we hope to further grow awareness of this special day and of these magnificent marine animals.  

Having generated support from around the world, the top supporting countries included the UK, United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. Our conservation message was successfully delivered to nearly 500,000 people and our supporters included the DiCaprio Foundation and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden.



16th October 2018

We are delighted to welcome a series of stunning carbon fibre sculptures from artist Alastair Gibson, which will be on show in the aquarium until mid January 2019. Following on from the installation of ‘aero manta’ earlier this year, the world renowned carbon fibre sculptor has developed an exciting and different body of work to compliment strong, yet delicate balance of the marine environment.

Three of Alistair’s newest creations, the ‘carbon starfish’ can be seen, submerged amongst the living reefs within the Lagoon of Light. Alongside this display, the ‘j hammer’ hammerhead shark offers up some great photo opportunities.

‘Distressed mackerel’ is a beacon within the plastic display in Cool Seas. The striking blue of the fish and the trailing tendrils create movement amongst the devastation, bringing to light the damage that plastic is having on the creatures of our world’s oceans.

The ‘carbon dory’ can be found at the entrance to the Cool Seas Zone and ‘carbon humboldt’ is suspended within the third floor gallery.

Alastair’s work has been exhibited world wide and his sculptures have been purchased by collectors in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Middle East and South Africa. Alastair’s work can be viewed in selected galleries in the UK, the United States, Europe, Russia, Dubai and South Africa.

Alastair's interest in motor racing was influenced by his father and an education in balance-engineering, Alastair set off to Europe with an ambition to work in the motor sport industry. This resulted in a career of twenty two years, fourteen of which were in formula one, four as lead mechanic for the Benetton F1 Team and ten as race team chief mechanic for the BAR and Honda Grand Prix Teams.

Drawing similarities between modern motorsport engineering and his love for the natural world, Alastair uses his acquired engineering skills and experience to recycle F1 car parts sourced from Grand Prix teams to show his passion for art through his signature medium of carbon fibre sculpture.

Now in his tenth year as a full time artist, Alastair is being recognised as a forerunner in carbon fibre sculpture and with his team is undertaking a variety of projects including private commissions, installations, a lifestyle product collection and new work in his bespoke studio ‘studio 45’ near Oxford, England.

There will be an exciting opportunity to meet with Alastair on Wednesday 28th November where he will be giving a talk about his work. Guests will also have the opportunity to explore the sculptures at their leisure when the aquarium is closed to the public. To book tickets, please click here

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