Here is Phil Lewis our Aquarium & Bughouse Assistant to tell you about the forthcoming Shark Week at the World Museum...
European Shark Week runs from Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 October when we'll have an array of activities at the World Museum's Clore Natural History Centre. There will be badge making for children and lots of posters and pockets guides to give away, with information about sharks and rays. All the drawings of the various species that are produced by visitors during the week, will be mounted on the wall to form a huge mural.
You can also come to several presentations delivered by our very enthusiastic aquarium staff at the Treasure House Theatre. These will focus on the status of sharks in the wild with lots of interesting shark and ray facts and plenty of interaction with the audience! The dates for these presentations are: Sunday 11, Tuesday 13, Friday 16, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October.
The purpose of Shark Week is to raise awareness about the tens of millions of sharks and rays that are slaughtered each year. This is due to unsustainable fishing practices and a desire for shark fin soup, which is an extremely cruel and wasteful practice. Sharks which have just had there fins cut off are then thrown overboard still alive and left to die slowly.
In Europe alone, thousands of tonnes of sharks are landed each year accounting for 27 percent of the slaughter world wide. This is an appalling example set by the EU, which other nations may look to for guidance and influence. They are also fished commercially for their meat and liver oil used in lamps, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and vitamin supplements. Harvesting these animals is unsustainable as sharks and rays grow slowly and have few offspring, making it impossible for them to recover from such exploitation. As sharks in particular usually receive negative media coverage, due to rare attacks on humans, it is very hard to lobby support for this group of animals than it is for other groups of endangered animals.
This is why Shark Week is so important in raising awareness and bringing these issues to the forefront of public imagination. These animals have been around for 400 million years - that's 200 million years before the dinosaurs - and they deserve better than this.
We hope to see you there so you can find out more about these incredible animals!