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Booster shot for shark charity Bite-Back

Midlands Diving Chamber donation to Bite-Back

UK charity Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation has just received the biggest single donation in its 19-year history – in the form of a £20,000 cash injection from hyperbaric and dive medical facility Midlands Diving Chamber (MDC)

Also read: MBEs for divers who became Sea-Changers

“For years we’ve admired and supported the ground-breaking work that Bite-Back is doing to save, protect and celebrate sharks,” said chamber spokesperson Sally Cartwright. “It’s a genuine pleasure to help ensure it stays at the forefront of shark conservation in the UK.”

MDC has been a long-term supporter of Bite-Back since the inaugural Bite-Back at Cancer event in 2007, and even once hosted a James Bond-themed party on the Thames to raise funds for the charity. It decided to make the one-off donation as part of the winding-down of the charitable side of its operation. 

“We can’t thank MDC enough for its continued support and now for this massive contribution to our pioneering shark conservation campaigns,” said Bite-Back’s founder and campaign director Graham Buckingham. “It makes us very proud that the country’s premier diving medical experts have chosen to back our campaigns that extend from parliament to primary schools. 

“This financial windfall will allow us to continue to lead the shark conservation agenda in the UK and deliver measurable shark-conservation breakthroughs to keep the oceans healthy.”

Bite-Back says that its No Fin To Declare campaign to end the UK’s import and export of shark fins is now only months away from achieving Royal Assent and passing into law. The charity recently launched a free 56-page teaching resource for key stage 2 & 3 students on the importance of sharks and the threats they face.

Based at St Cross Hospital in Rugby, MDC offers NHS-funded recompression in its chamber to scuba divers with decompression illness while also providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatments. Divers with medical concerns can contact MDC on 01788 579 555 or 07931 472 602.

Record interest in Sea-Changers funding

Another British marine-conservation charity, Sea-Changers, has reported a record number of applications for its project grants. Its Spring Main Grants round, which closed on 31 March, drew nearly 50 applications and, following the evaluation process, 21 of these will share more than £38,000, each project receiving between £750 and £2,500. 

Projects are being supported all over the UK, says Sea-Changers, from Newquay to the Hebrides and from Whitby to Anglesey, though some, like that of the Shark Trust, will be nationwide. The trust is calling on 31 international artists to create and donate pieces depicting oceanic shark or ray species for an exhibition that starts touring from this month until late 2024, in support of its Big Shark Pledge campaign.

Journey Blue is helping to tackle ghost-fishing (Sea-Changers)
Journey Blue is helping to tackle ghost-fishing (Sea-Changers)

Several grants will support coastal school projects, while the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust research vessel Silurian is to become a floating classroom for 125 children and up to 50 people from local communities. Other projects aim to tackle ocean pollution including plastics and, in the case of Journey Blue, ghost fishing-gear – offering fishers access to a free waste-disposal facility.

The next round of Sea-Changers’ Main Grants Fund closes for applications on 30 September.

Also on Divernet: UK’s shark-fin traders cut off, UK shark-fin ban confirmed, Just shark fins? Follow the meat, Diver pressure helps reach shark ‘turning point'

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