Andrew and Claudine Boast support the Shark Charity Bite-Back

30/05/2018
Andrew Boast & Claudine Boast, co-founders of SAM Conveyancing, joined a group of entrepreneurs from across Europe who contributed US$25,000 (£18,500) to support Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation, following an exclusive shark diving trip to the Galapagos Islands organised by businessmen and shark-conservation fans, Swen Lorenz and Marcel Maschmeyer.

Claudine and Andrew strongly believe in global conservation and upon hearing the work Bite-Back are doing to preserve sharks in the ocean, they were keen to support the charity. After seeing over 100 sharks during their trip you can see which sharks Andrew & Claudine dived with by clicking here.

The group made charitable donations to Bite-Back which will significantly boost the charities' annual budget, which presently stands at just £50,000. Graham Buckingham, Bite-Back's founder, welcomed the funds and stated that they will be crucial in its campaign to make Britain the first major country in the world to ban the trade in shark-related products.

Find out more about how to support Bite-Back

  • 73 millions sharks killed every year*
  • 580 health food stores no longer sell shark cartilage capsules*
  • 82% drop in the number of UK restaurants serving shark fin soup*
  • 115,000 fewer portions of Mako, Thresher & Blue Shark sold every year*

If you want to find out more about the charity work Bite-Back does or if you want to make a donation then click on the following button:

*Source: Bite-Back 28th May 2018


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What work does Bite-Back do in the UK?

Because of Bite-Back’s campaigns there are already 80% fewer restaurants in the UK serving shark fin soup. The charity also prompted ASDA, Iceland Foods and MAKRO to remove shark steaks from stores nationwide and inspired Holland & Barrett to end the sale of shark cartilage capsules.Andrew Boast Supports Shark Charity Bite-Back

However the continued unregulated over-fishing and the increase in demand for shark fin soup coupled with a global apathy towards shark conservation means that the ocean’s ‘big cats’ could be wiped out. Knock-on effects could throw the marine environment into chaos and, ultimately, threaten life on earth.

Graham Buckingham, founder of Bite-Back, said, “This generous donation will invigorate our campaigns to rid the UK of all shark products by 2022. We can now look forward to launching new initiatives to end the current 20kg personal importation of shark fins to the UK and eliminate the sale of shark meat, fins, teeth, jaws and supplements.”

Andrew Boast, CEO of SAM Conveyancing, said, "Being involved with this charity trip has really opened my eyes to the issues Bite-Back are solving. I think the fear that many people have of sharks makes preserving their habitat them less of a concern - we have Hollywood to thank for that. After meeting these beautiful animals, quite literally face-to-face, I can say that the fear is misplaced and can see that sharks have a fundamental and huge purpose in the ocean's ecosystem which makes Bite-Back's work towards protecting them so important.

"What shocked me the most was to find out that the UK was contributing to the falling number of sharks through its restaurant and shopping markets selling shark products. What Bite-Back is doing in the UK and around the world is helping to stop the selling of shark products to reduce the number of sharks killed each year, which is currently a staggering 73 million. I will continue to support Bite-Back in their goal to protect the sharks in our oceans."


Which Sharks did Andrew and Claudine see?

After being in the water with over 100 sharks on their charity trip, Andrew and Claudine saw them all in their natural environment. Here are the sharks they saw:

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark - they love warm water and distinctively different to the normal hammerhead shark by the scalloped shape to their heads - this improves their vision provides a larger area for the electroreceptors that the sharks relies upon to hunt for fish, octopus and sometimes other sharks. With an average size of 2.5-3 metres you can quite literally see hundreds of them at Gordon's Rock - we got to see 5 to 10.

Galapagos Shark - The Galapagos shark does not originate from the Galapagos islands, however they are most commonly seen there. They like warm water and eat primarily benthic bony fish, but they also like fur seals and sea lions. They have an average size of 3 metres.

Galapagos bullhead shark - The Galapagos Bullhead shark is a little bit of a mystery and not much is known about it. They are bottom-dwelling and have been around since the Jurassic period, although we only found this species 175 years ago. There are questions around these sharks being researched as we speak such as "How many are there?", "Where do they breed?" and "Are there genetic differences to the Peruvian and Galapagos bullhead shark?". With a maximum length of 107cm these were a joy to see.

Whitetip reef shark - The small shark at around 1.6 metres is normally found at the bottom of the ocean in clear waters. During the day they are very placid and sleep on the ocean floor, however at night they feed on bony fish, crustaceans and octopus. They hunt in groups and with their elongated noses they can get deep into the rocks to get their prey.

Blacktip shark - This is probably one of the most common sharks in the Galapagos although it can be found all over the world. The main threat to Blacktip sharks are other sharks and humans - we hunt them for their fins and meat. They can live for over 10 years and grow to 2 metres long.

Whale shark - This is the one that got away and Andrew & Claudine were so keen to see. In Blue Planet 2 we heard David Attenborough explain how scientists now believe that the Galapgos islands are the breeding ground for Whale Sharks. The Whale Shark is the largest fish in the ocean with an average length of 10-12 metres - imagine walking past a bus and that is the length. They are primarily planktivores but are known to eat small fish from time to time.

As well as shark spotting they also saw eagle rays, sea lions, mola molas, turtles and dolphins in the protected waters around the famous archipelago (a pod of over 100 played with their boat).

"The sharks weren't even bothered we were there, let alone thought we were a snack - in fact I think they just thought we looked stupid in our tight dives suits!"

Andrew Boast, SAM Conveyancing


Why did Swen & Marcel organise the charity trip?

Swen Lorenz said, "As a former conservation charity CEO, I know of the importance of backing well-run charities by giving their management unrestricted funds. Bite-Back has an unparalleled track-record in the UK for achieving significant impact in shark conservation on a lean, well-managed budget. We back its founder and want to help him to build on his existing success”.

Marcel Maschmeyer said, "As an avid diver and vegan since 2015, I have focused my efforts towards those species that cannot help themselves, but are crucial to the survival of our planet's most vulnerable ecosystems. I try to lead by example, always happy to support those with a passion for their cause and the right ideas to have a lasting impact. Graham at Bite-Back has done exactly that. We hope our contributions help to leverage his existing track record and allow him to aim for even bigger targets."

With this charitable donation Bite-Back can now scale up its efforts to deliver a series of intelligent campaigns that address these issues and highlight the urgency for shark conservation. Shark fans and those concerned about the survival of the species can follow Bite-Back’s progress at www.bite-back.com.

Photo: Left to right, Claudine Boast, Andrew Boast and Marcel Maschmeyerz - and in the middle a Whitetip Reef Shark. Photo taken at Daphne Rock, Galapagos Islands.
Andrew and Claudine with a Black Tip Shark
 
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