Suds for Sharks Conservation Fundraiser Held March 19 (3-10-18)

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Suds for Sharks Conservation Fundraiser Held March 19 (3-10-18)

PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. – Bring your love of fins to Suds for Sharks, a fundraiser for sand tiger shark conservation and research. The event is scheduled to be held 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. March 19 at the Crystal Coast Brewing Company, 702 Arendell St, Morehead City.

            The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and Crystal Coast Brewing Company are hosting this free, family-friendly event, bringing bring awareness to the importance of shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina, as essential habitat for sand tiger sharks.

            The event will feature two renowned guest speakers. Avery Paxton, a scientist with South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction and Conservation currently researching female sand tiger sharks, will talk about how the local dive communities are working together to better understand this species and the ecosystems around their survival. Additionally, she will be talking about past, present and future research and how this work engages members up and down the east coast, and in areas across the globe.

Underwater photographer Tanya Houppermans, who has won several awards for her images of sand tiger sharks in North Carolina, will speak on what she has seen firsthand while photographing these beautiful creatures. She will highlight the natural resources and opportunities along our coast and detail how special the North Carolina coast line is compared other global dive communities. She will talk about a new citizen science program called Spot a Shark.

            There will be a silent auction for shark-themed items and all donations will go toward sand tiger research and conservation currently taking place locally. The brewery will also unveil a new beer crafted for the event, and $1 from every beer sold will go towards shark conservation. Dank Burrito food truck will be onsite for the event.

            “The robust sand tiger shark population off the North Carolina coast provides valuable opportunities to study this species locally and gain knowledge that might support sustainable populations globally,” said Hap Fatzinger, Aquarium director.

            Decades of mismanagement combined with one of the slowest reproductive rates among sharks, reduced populations by as much as 90 percent from historical numbers, and have caused sand tigers to be listed as a species of concern by National Marine Fisheries Service and listed as vulnerable by International Union for Conservation of Nature.

            Fatzinger said even though there may be an abundance of this species found off the North Carolina coast, more people need to be aware that northwest Atlantic and global populations still need help. In fact, sand tiger sharks are considered critically endangered in other parts of the world.

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