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Catsharks keep eggcase-hunters busy

family with collected eggcases
(Shark Trust)

The Shark Trust has reported “bumper” results from its Easter Great Eggcase Hunt. Over the two-week holiday period from 9-24 April, the UK-based charity reports that 7,560 shark, ray and skate eggcases were recorded “from Orkney to the Isle of Wight”. 

The top species represented in the reports, which came in through both organised events and the efforts of individual hunters, were small-spotted catsharks (aka sandy or lesser-spotted dogfish or rough-hounds) and thornback rays.

The new finds came from 120 recorders taking part in 188 hunts. They add to the 330,000-plus cases recorded since the Great Eggcase Hunt project began in 2003. The Shark Trust uses the data to locate egg-laying hotspots and assess any increases or declines in certain species in different UK regions.  

catsharks dominate in infographic showing types of case found
infographic showing eggcase distribution in UK
(Shark Trust)

The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery (a partnership project that includes Cumbria Wildlife Trust and The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside) brought in 280 spotters who found 3,313 eggcases in and around Morecambe Bay. All but 59 were those of small-spotted catsharks.

North Wales was also well-represented as its Wildlife Trust organised a number of events there.

The Shark Trust hopes to encourage “citizen-scientists of all ages to make every trip to the beach a Great Eggcase Hunt” and spend time scouring the prime areas of strandlines and grassy sand dunes. Online resources are available to identify finds, which can be recorded here.

The Shark Trust is also keen to engage UK scuba divers on its Great Shark Snapshot project this summer.

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