Sealife Blackpool is today encouraging families to become mini explorers and play a crucial role in the conservation of the Fylde coast this Easter.
The expedition could not be more exciting – or important – as this ‘Easter egg hunt’ with a difference sees children and adults being urged to scour the coastline for shark and ray eggs.
Nicknamed ‘mermaid purses’, these egg cases are what’s left behind by ray and shark babies as they hatch in the waters off our coasts, and are renowned for being washed up on the beach at this time of the year and as the warmer weather approaches.
The rays and sharks lay their eggs at sea and the eggcases can stick themselves to rocks and survive for up to 12 months, depending upon the species of ray.
Sealife Blackpool is supporting The Shark Trust in this initiative – The Great Eggcase Hunt – which has been running for almost 20 years and poses the perfect opportunity for families to get out and learn about our coastlines this Easter break, while making a positive impact on local wildlife.
Explorers taking part are encouraged to take photographs, note the location, date and time, and check tide times to keep safe.
This information can then be uploaded to The Shark Trust website enabling experts to analyse trends and breeding across coastlines and look at how the Fylde coast compares to the rest of the UK.
Katie Seddon, Aquarist at Sealife, said: “Following an increase in eggs found on the Fylde coastline, it’s important to keep track of the ray population and The Great Eggcase Hunt is an educational way for mini explorers to do just that.
“The research also allows scientists to identify species that may be having difficulties breeding due to the impact of trawler fishing and, as such, organisations like The Shark Trust can look at how we help improve the habitats of these creatures.”
The Great Eggcase Hunt began in 2003 following a chance find on a beach in Devon. The project quickly developed with the aim of getting as many people as possible out hunting for eggcases and recording their finds.
As part of its Easter schedule of events, Sealife Blackpool is offering free trail cards to those looking to take part in a hunt, lending a helping hand so families know what to look out for during their mini expeditions.