The Shark Trust has brought together a group of artists who are passionate about sharks, conservation, and using art as a tool for positive change. Each of the 31 paintings, drawings, sculptures and digital media represents a species of shark or ray that lives in the open ocean. The exhibition can be visited at venues around the UK and can also be enjoyed virtually. So, however you choose to view Oceanic 31, you can immerse yourself in the wonderful world of sharks and rays. The exhibition is part of the Big Shark Pledge campaign.
2021 saw a review of the status of 31 oceanic shark and ray species. Of the 31 species reviewed, 24 are threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List. Some of these species are famous – like the Great White or Whale Shark. But others, like the Pygmy Longhorned Devil Ray – aren’t quite so well known. Featuring all 31 in this exhibition is a great way to showcase just how varied and amazing oceanic sharks and rays are.
Oceanic means relating to the high seas, a.k.a., the open ocean. The species featured within Oceanic 31 all spend a large amount of time during their life in the open ocean. These are the international waters beyond country borders, outside of normal jurisdiction and, crucially, at heightened risk from overexploitation due to a lack of agreed management and/or enforcement of regulation.
What can you do?
The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious campaign. By adding your voice, we can build one of the biggest campaigning communities in the history of shark conservation. To put pressure on governments and fisheries. And make the positive changes required to safeguard these awesome sharks and rays. This will be a long-term collaborative and international effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And catalysing the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.
Paul Cox, Shark Trust CEO, said “This exhibition gives us the opportunity to reach out to a new audience. And inspire more people with the wonderful sharks and rays on which our Big Shark Pledge campaign is based. We are immensely grateful to the 31 artists who have worked so hard to create these works and to Trebah Gardens for giving us an opportunity to bring them together for the first time.”
Oceanic 31 will be on display at Trebah Garden, near Falmouth, until the July 15th, 2023. The exhibition will then move to the Blue Planet Aquarium between Friday 25th August until Monday 4th September.
Oceanic 31 is planned to tour the UK over coming 18 months. Watch out for more dates and venues on the Shark Trust website. Unable to attend in person? The Shark Trust has launched a 360° virtual exhibition. No matter where you are in the world, you can experience the awe-inspiring artwork from the comfort of your own space.
Limited edition prints of some of the artwork are available to buy, and you can even buy a raffle ticket, or attend the final auction, to have the chance of owning an original! All profits will go towards the Shark Trust Big Shark Pledge campaign, working to protect the magnificent sharks and rays that swim in the high seas.
Stranded dolphin rescued from muddy inlet
At around 11:40 on Friday 16 February, a lone common dolphin was reported to British Divers Marine Life Rescue circling in the shallows in an inlet at Place, near Portscatho, in Cornwall. A couple of volunteer Marine Mammal Medics were sent down initially to monitor the animal in hope it would be able to get away by itself, and further assess the situation.
After an hour and a half or so of observation, the risk of stranding increased significantly as the tide went out as the inlet is very shallow, muddy and almost completely dries out over low tide. Therefore, a larger response team was dispatched with more equipment in preparation for a stranding. Indeed, the animal did soon strand in the mud and fell onto its side, submerging the blowhole. Luckily the team were on hand to help get it upright again quickly, then bring it ashore for a health assessment and to begin providing first aid. No obvious injuries could be found and it measured 2.03m, later confirmed as female.
The team were soon joined by two vets, who were able to confirm the animal to be in moderate nutritional condition and appeared otherwise okay following a more detailed health check, and so was suitable for the team to attempt to refloat. However, it was not possible to refloat it safely in the inlet due to the nature of the geography, substrate and tide there it seemed the most likely reason this dolphin had stranded was due to getting disoriented in this location, and would struggle to get out again. Luckily a local resident had his boat tender moored nearby and was happy to use it a transport craft to take the dolphin out to deeper water.
With help, the boat was slid across the mud and launched near the mouth of the inlet. A surfboard was placed on one side with a soft mat on top for the dolphin to lie comfortably on during the journey. When ready, the dolphin was carried across in a tarpaulin, transferred to a mesh stretcher and loaded on board with a team of four Medics including a vet.
The boat then carefully made its way out to the mouth of the Percuil River, facing into Carrick Roads and close to open sea, which was the most ideal site for release where the chance of returning and re-stranding was lower. The dolphin was carefully hauled overboard in the stretcher and held alongside briefly, though as she started kicking strongly almost straight away it was hard to keep hold and so she was released quickly. The boat retreated and the team observed her circling in the middle of the channel until she was lost from sight. The team returned to the inlet before darkness fell.
The area will be monitored over the weekend for re-sightings or re-strandings, but it is hoped that she will recover successfully and continue back out to sea. In the meantime BDMLR would like to thank the volunteer team, local residents and members of the public for all their efforts and support throughout this incident.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue is an international marine animal rescue organisation based in the UK and is a registered charity. The aims of the organisation are to provide a rescue service for marine wildlife, to support existing rehabilitation centres and to develop new methods of rescue, treatment, transport and care. Website www.bdmlr.org.uk.
Photos: Dan Jarvis
Mother of Corals Announces Ambassador Program
Unlock the secrets of coral restoration and become an advocate for marine conservation. This comprehensive program is designed for individuals passionate about protecting our oceans and eager to make a tangible impact on coral reef ecosystems. Participants will delve into the science, techniques, and community engagement aspects of coral restoration, gaining the base knowledge and skills necessary to contribute actively to reef rehabilitation efforts.
Join Mother of Corals in beautiful Bocas del Toro, Panama to learn about coral restoration projects from start to finish. This course is designed for students, environmentalists, divers, soon-to-be-divers and anyone seeking to become a catalyst for positive change in coral reef conservation. Join Mother of Corals on a transformative journey to become a Mother of Corals Ambassador and contribute to the preservation of one of Earth’s most vital ecosystems.
Sessions begin in April 2024! For more information, contact Mother of Corals via their website.
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