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Sharks spotted on Malin Head beach 30.05.24

SHARKS of all shapes and sizes have appeared on White Strand beach in Malin Head over the last couple of weeks as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Fin-Tastic Sharks and Mermaids Sculpture Challenge across Ireland, supporting the annual European Maritime Day (EMD) - In My Country events.
Children from Inishowen create some Fin-Tastic Shark sculptures on White Strand, Malin Head while learning about sharks and seaweeds around Ireland with William McElhinney, Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme.
Lead by the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme’s team, Ireland is among 31 countries supporting the EMD ‘In My Country events’ organised by the European Commission. Each year, EMD is celebrated around mid-May to raise awareness about the seas and oceans and their importance to our environment, economy and culture.

The sculptures were built by hundreds of children, families and friends in Sandycove Dublin, White Strand Malin Head in Donegal, and Grattan Beach in Galway.

"The shark and mermaid sand and rock sculptures, embellished with shells and seaweed decorations, are inspired by the different sharks found in Irish waters, such as the Basking Shark with its incredible sized mouth, the thresher shark and its amazing tail, and the undulate skate with its beautiful markings,” remarked Dr Nóirín Burke, Explorers Education Programme team manager.

Sharks, skates and rays are some of the most threatened species in the world. In Ireland, marine scientists work with fishers and local communities to learn about local sightings of sharks and skates which is key to helping with their conservation. Much of the research has found that Irish waters are a perfect refuge for many shark, skate and ray species, such as the basking shark and the common stingray.

The Explorers EMD – In My Country events further celebrated the recent publication of its Explorers Fin-Tastic Sharks+ resources that includes: An Introduction to Elasmobranch for Children and the new Mermaid’s Purse Identification Key. These resources are freely available to download from www.explorers.ie and are suitable for introducing cross curricular content in the classroom as themed projects.
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