SEALIFE Bray is calling on the Irish Government to protect our native Basking shark population. The Basking Shark is currently not listed as a protected or restricted fish species under Irish National marine or conservation legislation.  An online petition to support this cause can be found at 
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protect-irelands-basking-sharks and a host of educational activities dispelling some of the myths about sharks will be happening from now until 4th November at SEALIFE Bray,info at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sealife-Aquarium-Bray. Pictured was Aine Purcell-Milton, Conservation Coordinator SeaLife with Lockie Keogh, Age 11, Niamh the Shark and Anna Van Der Reek.

Sea Life.

Brief

Situated in Bray, Co Wicklow, Sea Life is a visitor attraction promoting the education, understanding and conservation of sea creatures, both exotic and native to Ireland. We work with Merlin Entertainments on an ongoing basis to highlight the visitor attraction, drive footfall and increase understanding among the general public of sea creatures, particularly those under threat in their natural environment.

Action

We organise regular events and develop story angles to reach out to the public to promote the visitor attraction.  These are a mix of serious and/or sometimes fun stories to highlight the attraction and its work.  In the last 5 years we have created and placed a host of media stories in national media and social media alike.  These included:

April Fools Stories including: ‘A Giant Pacific Octopus that solved a Rubik’s Cube’ and a team up between Sea Life and Horse Racing Ireland to race sea horses.

Valentine’s Day stories on lesbian sharks,  amorous stingrays, and monogamous angelfish.

‘SOS – Save Our Sharks’, a nationwide petition to save the indigenous population of basking sharks which involved an online petition, public protest and lobbying campaign targeting Dail Eireann.

Understanding Stingrays – a national social media and  photo story that saw  former Miss World swimming with Sting ray dispelling the myths surrounding this often misunderstood sea creature.

Leafy Sea Dragon – placement of a story on the successful conservation work being carried out by Sea Life.

Don’t Eat Octopus – a campaign highlighting the intelligence of the species.

Results

By creating interesting media friendly story angles which are almost copy ready with attractive photography, we ensure regular national media hits for the visitor attraction in national newspapers, radio and television.

Our stingray story had an unprecedented clean sweep appearing in all national newspapers including a page 1 picture story in 2 national newspapers and as a photo-story in all other national dailies. Over 100 amateur photographers attended the photocall with their work appearing on a regular basis across social media and print media.

Over 8,000 fans regularly interact with Sea Life on Facebook providing an excellent direct communication channel for repeat visitors to the attraction.

SeaLife’s General Manager, Pat O’Suilleabhain, has become established as a credible expert on marine matters and regularly features on national radio and television commenting on marine stories.

Sharklife Project

Kieran Harnett

  • Sea Life
  • 2012-2014