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World Aquatic Animal Day

Updated: Apr 4

The 3rd April 2024 is World Aquatic Animal Day and to celebrate we're donating 10% from every sale made to The Scottish Wildlife Trust to help protect important species within Scottish waters.

(Ends 9th April 2024)

Scotland’s marine area makes up close to 60% of the UK seas and covers an area six times that of Scotland’s land area.

Unfortunately, the increasing pressure and demands from modern day society have led to a significant decline in the health of Scotland’s costal regions. To maintain a healthy and productive marine environment it's important to identify the impact human activity has had by supporting effective and sustainable management of these areas.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust recognises that effective management involves working at both national and local levels. Their Living Seas project focuses on both marine planning and community engagement. They are engaged in a wide range of areas, from North Sea decommissioning to advocating for more sustainable finfish aquaculture.

To Celebrate World Aquatic Animal Day and The Scottish Wildlife Trust we've listed 5 amazing species that can be found around Scottish coastlines:

1. Basking Sharks

The basking shark is the second largest fish in world oceans – its relative the whale shark being the biggest. The basking shark may be huge but it often disappears from the coast in winter, confussing scientists of its whereabouts! Theories include everything from hibernating in deep water to shedding their gill rakes (which help them to feed), but satellite tracking has shown that they migrate during all seasons, so are continuously on the move.

They can be found around all around our coasts, but most frequently seen around the west coast of Scotland, the south-west of England, Wales and the Isle of Man

Basking sharks were hunted in Scotland up until 1994 for the oil in their livers that was used to make cosmetics, perfumes, lubricants and as lamp oil. They are now classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, listed under CITES Appendix II and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

2. Atlantic Puffin

Puffins live in burrows in the short grass at the top of cliffs and feed on fish, such as sandeels, which they catch out at sea by diving beneath the surface and using their wings to swim. For most of the year puffins are out at sea, only returning to the land to breed.

During the breeding season, displays of bill-knocking and ritualised walking will result in mating pairs producing one egg, which is laid at the end of the burrow. The chick will remain in the burrow until it is independent and ready to go to sea.

3. Common Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are related to slugs, mussels and squid. They are not a fish, but rather a shallow water species known as cephalopods and dwell on sandy or muddy substrates in coastal and marine waters.

Cuttlefish are referred to as “chameleons of the sea” due to their colour-changing abilities. They can change their colour to match their surroundings and, in the case of males, to attract mates. They do this by using the pigment cells in their skin. These cells can be used independently or together to produce different colours and patterns, which can also flash.

Like octopus, cuttlefish have an ink sac which they can expel ink from when in danger, or to confuse an enemy.

4. Minke Whale

Minke whales are generally seen in small pods consisting of between 1-3 individuals, except in feeding areas where as many as 15 individuals may gather. Research suggests that minke whales have a complex social structure similar to that of Orcas and Dolphins.

They feed using a strategy know as ’lunge feeding’. Their throat and mouth expand to engulf huge volumes of seawater. When they close their mouth, seawater is squeezed out through hanging curtains of combs, whilst the fish are trapped and swallowed whole.

5. Moon Jellyfish

Moon jellyfish are meat eaters. They eat molluscs and plankton, but also fish eggs and shrimps. They have a large stomach and will eat whatever they can find floating by. The tentacles have powerful toxins that immobilise their prey.

Moon jellyfish species live their lives without brains, ears, heart, lungs, blood or eyes. They are basically made up of three main elements: 95% water, a mouth, and a digestive system.

Moon jellyfish do sting, but their venom is mild and considered harmless to humans. Any sting can usually be rinsed off with salt water and the venom deactivated with heat, vinegar, or baking soda.

Purchase any of these products today and help support The Scottish Wildlife Trusts incredible work in Scottish waters

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