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Shark Tales
01 Feb 2006

A pioneering project investigating one of the most mysterious creatures of the UK's coastal waters has received lottery backing. The Wildlife Trust Basking Shark Project was awarded a ?50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to set up a survey project that monitors the nature of this beautiful and rare species in order to develop our knowledge and understanding.

'Like so much of our marine heritage, we still have a lot to learn about these incredible creatures,' says research officer Corrinna Woodall. 'Providing direct support for the priority species listed in the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan is a new funding area for the Heritage Lottery Fund and it is encouraging to see one of the first projects underway.'

Photographic evidence and video footage of the sharks was produced and an interactive website was established to allow people to post recordings of data and sightings. Volunteers from all walks of life were also trained in aspects of survey work such as monitoring populations, studying individual species, examining behaviour and recording the sharks' movements as well as acting as crew members on the 'Forever Changes' survey boat.

'The survey will undertake crucial work to help the basking shark whilst providing many volunteers throughout the UK the opportunity to observe marine wildlife at close quarters,' added Colin Speedie, conservationist and skipper of the survey vessel. 'We cannot afford to ignore the presence of this majestic creature in our waters if we are committed to helping reduce pollution and improving the UK's wildlife.'

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