This July has been a celebration of sharks, skates and rays. We’ve celebrated them all. From the largest to the smallest, to the striped spotted and the flattened – we love them all!

And on the 10 July we celebrated in style by holding a major fundraising event at the Royal Geographic Society (with IBG). FOR THE LOVE OF SHARKS, was an evening of stories and celebration of these magnificent marine animals.

The evening started with 4 mini shark “love” stories from our special guest speakers Paul Rose (Explorer, TV presenter & Radio Broadcaster), Marc Dando (Wildlife & Scientific Illustrator), Ali Hood (Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust) and James Glancy CGC (Host on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week & Director of Veterans for Wildlife).

Each one had a different story to tell. From new scientific discoveries through illustration, to demonstrating that sharks aren’t the man-eating monsters they’re made out to be. A marine biologist who now has her feet firmly planted on the ground (that’s right Ali gets terrible sea sickness). And false ‘encounters’ of White Sharks that turn out to be the hull of the boat!

The Making of the Mako, a short film, was also aired. The film shows how sculpture Alastair Gibson crafted the stunning carbon mako shark. Alastair kindly donated this mako to the Shark Trust for auction in 2018. It’s now owned by Animal Friends, who released it for this special event.

Steve Backshall (BAFTA award-winning naturalist and TV presenter) was the keynote speaker and talked passionately about his experience and love of sharks, which started from an early age! He also touched on the threats they face and what can be done to help them.

Although very different, they all had a common theme - their love of sharks and a desire to see them thrive within the marine environment.

In the Q&A we discussed the need for conservation and sustainable fisheries. Ali highlighted the achievements in shark conservation to date, but also clearly demonstrated that there’s still much to be done to ensure a future for all sharks.

At the end of the event, we asked all the attendees to take instant action for one specific shark species – the Shortfin Mako. By retweeting a Shark Trust tweet calling for an urgent ban on landing of North Atlantic makos by the EU fleet. To see the numbers scroll up as people hit retweet was incredible. The more we get this information out there, the more pressure we can put on policy makers. The tweet is still pinned to our twitter feed so please join in the action and retweet it.

The evening was full of a positive, light-hearted and inspiring atmosphere. It was a great pleasure for us to meet so many of our supporters and it reaffirms why we’re working so hard to protect these species. For us it was an inspiring evening and, if you attended, we hope it was for you too.

The opportunity to engage with a subject that previously I had little knowledge of was particularly enjoyable. The evening was varied in its topic, from the model from Alastair, to Steve himself with his close up and personal views, alongside the art of the illustrator. And the nitty-gritty of the facts and figures, and real-world issues surrounding global shark populations. Interesting stuff through and through.” For the love of Sharks - Attendee

Feedback from the event has been incredibly positive and has convinced us to run a similar event next year. So look out for news on the upcoming 2020 event - we hope to see you there!

► If you attended the event and would like to share your feedback please click here to take our survey.

We’d like to thank all the speakers, organisers, sponsors, the RGS and of course the attendees who made this an evening to remember.

The money raised through ticket sales will go towards supporting our work at the Shark Trust.

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Thanks to the continual support of our Corporate Patrons:

Logos - Corporate Supporters (Sonardyne, Animal Friends Pet Insurance and Hallett Independent)

Special thanks to our event sponsors:

Logos - Event Sponsors (Dive Worldwide and Ruddocks)