A week ago i was on a beach in Wicklow, just south of Brittas Bay. While on the beach doing a beach clean, i noticed lots of Shark Egg Cases, yes shark eggs!
Sharks are incredible creatures and even their reproductive lifecycle is pretty amazing. For example, some sharks/rays lay eggs, not Oval shape like the eggs we are accustomed to seeing, but different shapes and sizes. Some Sharks give birth, in a similar fashion to other animals to live young. Some sharks while in the womb will even consume their brothers or sisters. Crazy eh, but nature sure is impressive.
But i digress. So i collected about 95 eggcases, far more than i had ever seen before on a beach and brought them out to Dr Sarah Varian of Marine Dimensions (http://www.marinedimensions.ie) in Bray, Co. Wicklow. She was brilliant, and explained what type of shark/ray each case came from. She explained some of the threats facing these animals, from fisheries and the different methods used to fish, which are also causing a lot of bycatch of many different species of marine life. She also told me of the difficulty they have in trying to get funding to carry out their work. As ever everything comes down to money.
Luckily the eggcases I’d found were from Rays and Sharks (3 different species in total) which were not under threat at this time. Sarah explained how finds like mine, help identify new nursery grounds, which then further assists in our understanding of the important areas for these animals and can help protect them, if Sarah and her colleagues can work with local fisheries to explain the benefits of no fishing areas and better approaches. I was proud to help out by bringing these eggcases in to their office.