Biting back - the World's leading shark experts converge on London Zoo
Friday 22 October 2004
On Friday 22 October, the world's leading shark experts are gathering at London Zoo to take part in a two day conference driven by the issues which increasingly threaten this poorly understood and highly exploited group of fish
It is the first time the conference has been held in London and it is hosted by The Zoological Society of London at London Zoo (ZSL) and organised by the Shark Trust and the conference will cover all aspects of shark and ray biology, ecology and conservation.
In the mid 1990s an estimated 100 million sharks were being killed every year as a result of bycatch and the vast international demand for shark fins for soup.
"Sadly sharks are often seen as the villains of the aquatic world," commented Ali Hood of the Shark Trust, "however they are becoming increasingly threatened by uncontrolled exploitation."
In the Northwest Atlantic populations of some large species have fallen by 75% to 90% since 1986 and there are indications that some formerly highly abundant species are now present at less than 2% of their original numbers.
As apex predators, sharks maintain the balance of the marine ecosystem and play a critical role in our oceans. Their disappearance could have devastating effects on other fish species.
"What we are doing is raising awareness about shark species and their plight, said Dr Heather Koldewey, Senior Aquarium Curator for The Zoological Society, "We hope to show that there more to sharks than big teeth and that they are a fascinating and varied group of animals."
During the conference plans to implement an action plan to conserve the UK populations of shark species will be discussed.
Many people are surprised to find out that there are 30 species of shark found off the British coasts and often don't realise that when they buy fish such as rock salmon and skate from their fishmongers that are in fact buying a shark species.
The two day conference will start on Thursday evening with a talk by John Morrissey of Hofstra University, USA with a lecture entitled 'Sharks are People Too' and culminates on Sunday 24 with a Family day and Junior Shark Conference at London Zoo.
For more information please contact Debbie Curtis 020 7449 6363
About the Zoological Society of London
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is the conservation of animals and their habitats. ZSL runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, and carries out scientific research through the Institute of Zoology as well as being actively involved in field conservation.
About the Shark Trust
Established in 1997, the Shark Trust is a UK registered marine conservation charity dedicated to promoting the study, management, and conservation of sharks, skates and rays (elasmobranchs) in the UK and internationally. The Shark Trust is led by a Board of Trustees, who oversee a small but dedicated Conservation and administration team, a voluntary Scientific Committee and a growing number of committed supporters.
Family Fun Day at London Zoo:
Held in the Meeting Rooms of The Zoological Society of London
10.30-4.00 A day of interesting, interactive talks and activities by shark experts and the Shark Trust staff. Something for all ages from: DIY sharks; getting stuck into talks on teeth, Great Whites and shark infested waters; face to face encounters (both with model sharks and the experts!); puppet play; the Shark Trust Junior Conference offering an exciting opportunity for younger members; and much more. The grand finale of the day will be the opportunity to pose questions to a panel of shark experts, prizes for the most inspired! (some events will be ticketed, programme will be posted on-line soon)
11.00-3.00 Junior Conference (registration required)
Get ready to register for our unique Junior Shark Conference and take part in a mix of interactive talks and hands-on activities, and have your say! Conference spaces are limited and in demand, so please pre-register if you want to take part. Open to 8 - 16 year olds. Delegate rate is £10 and includes:
Delegate pack and goodie bag;
Drink and snacks;
Four hours of excellent shark fun and education.
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