Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Redcar Whale - lessons to be learnt

Almost three months after the stranding of the Sperm Whale at Pegwell Bay Ramsgate another male Sperm Whale , a 44ft long male Sperm Whale whale has died three hours after becoming stranded on a beach on Redcar Beach Teesside.

The BBC reported ;

"RSPCA officers were involved in the rescue attempt, along with those from the Coastguard and Cleveland Fire Brigade, while RSPCA vets assessed the mammal's condition."

"A rescue bid started which involved trying to keep the adult sperm whale wet until high tide but it died."

"A post mortem will be carried out on the whale and then it will be up to the local council to dispose of it."

I really hope that something positive will happen with the Whale remains unlike the Pegwell Bay Whale which was cut up and disposed in landfill. Like the Pegwell Bay Whale there will be a autopsy and the Institute of Zoology sponsored by DEFRA will carry out a investigation taking away organs, the Jaw and other samples. Then it will be up to the local authority to dispose of the remains. In Thanet the the Sperm Whale stranded there as mentioned earlier was disposed of in landfill. This prevented any local samples or remains being retained localy for museums etc.,, however in some countries a stranding like this is buried to allow nature to take its course and the bones are then dug up years later as a project, these projects can be googled.
As the Pegwell Bay Whale was cut up this left Whale fat on the strandline which after three months is still present at Pegwell Bay and is decaying and smelly. Also in the days after the disposal balls of spermaceti oil also appeared on the strandline, when cold it is solid and white and when it is warm it will become liquid. I do have a small amount in a container collected from Pegwell Bay.
If the Whale is cut up there will be splinters because once the Jaw is removed the head will be removed and behind the jaw there is a mass of bone that will splinter if cut with a chainsaw. If the same technique is used as in Pegwell Bay there will be pieces of bone to be found on the site days or even weeks after the clearance. The small splinters are okay to clean and the best method is to boil the pieces for about ten minutes to remove some of the fat within in bone, then leave it outside for a few days and then store in dry conditions on a piece of kitchen roll to absorb any oil that may secrete. The large pieces that are porous will be a challenge as they will smell and will drip oil for weeks. I tried many ideas to work out a way to preserve the large pieces as exhibits only to come up with the idea that the large pieces are best left for the natural process. So I have bought a plastic dustbin filled it up with compost and buried the large pieces in it, inspecting the bone every month.
I collected 51 bone fragments and samples from Pegwell Bay, of which I had to inform the Receiver of Wrecks, notify DEFRA and then apply to English Nature the regulatory authority to possess them. Except for the two large pieces in the compost bin I have donated 41 pieces to a local natural history museum at the Monkton nature reserve pending a decision by English Nature.

Monday, 30 May 2011

A visit to Monkton

Yesterday (Sunday) I visited the Monkton Nature Reserve to deliver 49 pieces of Whalebone for their collection. Which hopefully once legal ownership is determined I will be able to gift my entire collection to their natural history museum. It is also fortunate that they are having some school field trips coming up of which my collection will be a welcome addition. However, I decided to keep two large pieces which are being left to nature at present in my compost bin until they are in a suitable condition to be exhibited.
I found the Monkton natural history collection interesting, taking a interest in the marine collection. Even though the marine collection was small it was still impressive with items like Sperm Whale teeth, Whale vertebrae, bottle nose Dolphin vertebrae and a flipper of a bottle nose Dolphin recovered from Folkestone on display. I should point out that the flipper did not come from "Dave" the missing friendly bottle nose Dolphin who lived in the waters off the Folkestone inshore coast a few years back.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

More on the Margate Shipwreck




From Tuesday evening onwards the chances are that the wooden (oak) ship wreckage recently exposed this year on the low water mark opposite Godden's Gap Marine Terrace Margate will be seen. This should be around 17:45 depending on the wind holding the tide. However, the evening of Wednesday to Friday should be even better.
I have come across this image on the web at njscuba.net/artifacts/obj_hull_wood.html which is a excellent guide to the parts that can be found laying in the sand. Hopefully I should remember to bring my camera this time.
The area around the wreck is a littered with remains of bottles over 100 years old, the Thanet Coast project is now aware of this and so is TDC. Even though the glass is inert and blunted it does not give a good impression for a tourist beach. So if everyone who visits the wreck brings a carrier bag and takes away at least a dozen pieces I sure the area will be clear in time for the warmer weather.
There is every chance that complete Victorian bottles can be found , also some interesting embossed fragments of glass can be picked up. On thing to also look out for is pieces of plate that bear the names of the paddle steamer companies that used the Jetty and the Harbour Arm.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Midweek coastal ramble.




This morning's low water I set myself two tasks, one was to clear the Pegwell Bay Hoverport site of every piece of Whale Bone to assure the Receiver of Wrecks, DEFRA and English Nature that there are no remains of the Sperm Whale left on the Pegwell site. This should finalise my application to keep my collection of Whale Bone samples with English Nature which in turn would allow me to donate the entire collection to a local museum. I have notified the Monkton Nature Reserve who collect natural history that the collection is available pending a decision by English Nature. So I am waiting on replies.


Then it was off over to Margate to photograph the ship wreck remains on the low water mark opposite Godden's gap. Unfortunately, the wind had changed direction overnight and was holding the tide so there was no chance of even seeing the wreckage in such wind and tidal conditions. In order not waste the latter part of the morning I surveyed some of the areas where the sand had eroded between the high and low water mark these past few weeks. Summer erosion on Margate main sands does some strange things on the sands below the high tide mark as it brings all the old Victorian and Edwardian debris to the surface, mostly pieces of china, glass and clay pipe stems. The presence of glass on the beach looks horrendous and even though it is pretty inert and blunted it does give a very bad impression of a tourist beach. On this occasion I just happened to have a sturdy plastic sack so I set about collecting all the beach glass and record some data.


Victorian bottles is a subject I have a certain expertise in, so it was pretty easy to date everything I found. Once again most of the finds as on previous occasions fell into the golden age of seaside history of the late Victorian period up to the First world war that led to rapid development in Margate. I have pictured this mornings haul for anyone interested.


As for the ship wreck remains it does look as if next Tuesday evening will be the next available sighting depending on wind and tide.


Monday, 23 May 2011

A Margate Shipwreck from 1877 ?

I seem to be developing this very familiar pattern that every time I forget to take my camera I stumble across something of interest and today was no exception.
This morning I dropped into Marine Studios in Albert Terrace to give the studio my collection of items that I picked up last year and this winter including the Mitten crab samples, about twenty pieces of Amber and a collection of clams. As I looked out of the window across the main sands the tide was out. Directly out from Godden gap on Marine Terrace on the low water mark I could see this gully that the Margate metal detector users have been telling me about. From where I was standing I could see a few timbers from the wreck that had exposed this winter in the same gully.
I had heard about the wreck uncovering a few months ago and this was the first opportunity I have had to give it a good look. By closer examination I estimate the wooden wreckage to be about 25 feet long and between 6 to 8 feet wide and scattered around there are a number of ribs from the wreckage. The condition of the timber is excellent and the ribs are laying loose so they can easily be carried off the beach. Around the wreckage are deposits of clay from the Tivoli Brooks and a mixture of shingle and loose chalk. Amongst the layers of chalk and clay there were shards of plate, clay pipe stems, broken bottles, worn beach glass and all the debris associated with the Victorian / Edwardian seaside up until the 1930's. I carried out a quick search of the area and it was quick with the tide coming in. Finds included a complete lamont pattern mineral water bottle circa 1880's and a part of a M J Harlow mineral water bottle minus a neck probably dated around pre First World War. I also came across a large granite block which may have been ballast from the Wreck.
Dating a wreck like this can be difficult and does take a great deal of research, however I do have a theory.
As soon as I saw the wreckage I was amazed at the amount of timber because being so close to Margate as a single wreck would have been completely salvaged as every available piece would have been used by the local population even if it was used for firewood. Therefore I would assume that the wrecking could have happened at a time when more than one vessel was wrecked. The theory being that rich and easy pickings and financial reward would take priority of firewood. This would then point to the storm of 24th November 1877 when the wind changed dramatically from SSE to NNE severe force gale driving all the shipping anchored in the Margate Roads onto the shore. This events surrounding this storm are well documented in the Margate Historical Society archives by Mick Twyman, John Willaims and Chris Sandwell.
In the Margate area alone seven ships were wrecked during that storm and many were driven ashore damaged. On Michael's Thanetonline, Michael published a postcard some time back of a badly damaged Margate Jetty that was damaged by the " Charles Davenport" that had been driven along the coast by this gale and sliced into the Jetty. In the background of this postcard many sailing ships can be seen aground in the bay and on the Nayland which would have occupied all the available local labour from carpenters , seamen and salvagers. Also taking into consideration all the loses on the North Kent coast I am sure the coastline would have been littered with easy pickings for the local population who would have had the luxury of ignoring such a bounty on Margate main sands.

I stress this is only a plausible theory until further research is carried out

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ramsgate Artwork

In the Thanet District Council art collection there is some artwork by Philip James de Loutherbourg (1740 to 1812) a English artist of German origin. In the TDC collection there are Loutherbourg prints from Margate and Ramsgate and they can easily be researched on the internet. However, the content of Ramsgate artwork in general in the TDC collection is a bit of a mystery. Last year TDC did loan twelve works of Ramsgate artwork to the Ramsgate Town Council for the Custom House HQ and there were some loans from the TDC collection by Loutherbourg at the Ramsgate Maritme Museum.
As mentioned in the previous posting there is so few Ramsgate works of art in the public domain and this situation realy needs to be addressed. One solution I suppose the Town Council could consider is aquiring restrikes which are not reproductions, but restrikes taken from engraved plates of the original print. This beauty by Loutherbourg titled "Ramsgate Pier" can be purchased for £64.95 from www.easyart.com

First night at the RTC.

Last night was my first meeting at the Ramsgate Town Council which was a friendly affair as the only thing missing was a cup of tea and a packet of ginger biscuits. Dave Green was elected Mayor , Pat Moore was elected deputy Mayor and Richard Nicholson was elected to look after the purse strings. As for myself I am on the planning committee and on the twinning committee.
Most of the meeting was about elections to committees and accepting committee meeting reports which are formalities as most council business is decided at committee stage. Ralph Hoult stepping down as Deputy Mayor and Councilor gave a report on his civic activities for the past year, rounding off with an I’ll be back theme. Which I thought was a good little piece until I realized that I beat Ralph by only sixty odd votes.
Not all council business is interesting, even for us committed folk, so sometimes I do have the attention span of a gnat. So as the venue was all new to me and I took in the surroundings. Even though the Council Chamber had been restored to perfection there were very few items relating to Ramsgate’s past that have provenance to be seen. The Mayor’s chair that resembled old sparky that was supporting Dave Green was perhaps the oldest item.
I often think that for a town the size of Ramsgate there does not appear to be many historic items anywhere in the public domain. I know that the fire at the library took a terrible toll but there just seems to be so many gaps. On the archive side there is no shortage of information and a tour of Michael’s book shop can confirm that. Prints, paintings, work of art and artifacts are something I will look into as a Town Councilor.
Finally, the meeting passed a resolution opposing the export of live animals through Port Ramsgate and by the tone of the meeting I would think some councilors may join a peaceful demonstration.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Live animal exports at Ramsgate

So it looks as if live animals for export will be passing through Port Ramsgate, a trade I think is cruel and should be opposed. I will definitely sign up to the against lobby.
This song by Mary Hopkin has parrallels to the victims of the holocaust and a cow being led to slaughter and not knowing the reason why.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Fit & Healthy event on Ramsgate main sands.

The Thanet Coast project are running a free fit & healthy event on Ramsgate main sands this Saturday 21st May and the events are as follows in this email I received.

"FIT & HEALTHY ON RAMSGATE BEACH: 21 May 2011

Various fun healthy activities, games & information centred around Ramsgate's Main Sands for the day.

10am (3hrs, 5ys+) Green Gym - help on this clean up of the Ramsgate Sea Garden-

12pm (45mins, 16 yrs+) Zumba, with Jeni Dexter-

2pm (2hrs) Skip2bfit with John McCormack-

1pm (3hrs) 'Flag races' & 'Throwing the 'ring' with ThanetLifeguards/TLF-

1pm (4hrs) Beach volley ball and football, with Thanet SportMatters!-

1pm (3 hrs) "Tug of War" & beach games with Groundwork's stars & stripes-

4pm (1hr, 6yrs+) Tai Chi with Barry Phelan


Check your health out with the NHS HEALTH BUS, or find out more about Kent services with the MOBILE GATEWAY, Red Cross, Visitor Information...and other organisations. 'Footprints in the Sand & other partners',

10am-5pm Family & All Ages)· Sat 21 May, 10am-5pm - Ramsgate Main Sands / Promenade · Just turn up & "Sign in" early for an activity on the beach at the Thanet Coast Project Marquee - situated besides the main Ramsgate Sands Cafe on the access slope to the beach. "

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The rat and the seagull and a coastal ramble

I often hear many amazing seagull stories and the latest to interest me was told to me by my neighbour who witnessed a seagull kill a rat and eat it. My neighbour was visiting a friend and through the patio window of her friend's house they could see a rat in the garden cleaning itself. Down flew a seagull who hit the rat on the back of the neck with its beak, the seagull turned the rat around to then swallow it head first and then flew off.

Elsewhere around the coast things have been less dramatic. As mentioned early there is going to be a cockle harvest at Pegwell Bay this year. The Pegwell Bay cockle harvest is sustainable and only happens every few years when the cockles reach a commercial size. Once the harvest is over the population is then left to recover and then harvested a few years later and so on. The cockles are removed from the sea bed by a fishing boat specially adapted for the task. One year the cockle boat took its load up the river to Sandwich where the cockles were unloaded into a waiting lorry in the car park by the Toll bridge.
Judging by reports in the Thanet Gazette it appears the local Oyster population is now being looked into for commercial exploitation. As many people know the Oysters we see around the coastline are the Pacific Oyster a invasive species that has thrived in our inshore waters. The Oysters do look strong and healthy and are subject to tests to see if they are fit for human consumption.
Around the coast people have been taking them off the shore over the past years and have been eating them. There is no restrictions on how many Oysters are taken but there is a concern on how they are removed because the vast majority of Oysters are attached to the chalk reef or are bedded amongst mussels. Those that are bedded amongst the mussels are damaging the mussel beds by crowding out the mussels. For the mussel population it could be a lose lose situation if the Oysters are taken out recklessly.
The Thanet coast project is undertaking a series of studies into the Pacific Oyster population around the coast. On my part I have noticed how the Oysters have different habits depending on where you are around the coast. They seem to adopt different shapes and colours, for example some will attach to groynes adopting a flat shape and almost resembling the fan shape like the native species. In the Walpole Bay tidal pool Oyster's are found to be elongated like a slipper and lacking colour in the shell, yet in Epple Bay the Oyster's have hints of colour that make them look decorative as they attach to each other adopting random shapes something one would expect from somewhere tropical.

A joke for Sunday Morning

A man goes into the doctors feeling a little ill


The doctor checks him over and says, 'Sorry, I have some bad news,

you have Yellow 24, a really nasty virus.

It's called Yellow 24 because it turns your blood yellow

and you usually only have 24 hours to live.

There's no known cure so just go home and enjoy your final precious
moments on earth.'


So he trudges home to his wife and breaks the news.

Distraught, she asks him to go to the bingo with her that evening as he's
never been there with her before.

They arrive at the bingo and with his first card he gets four corners and
wins £35.

Then, with the same card, he gets a line and wins £320


Then he gets the full house and wins £1000.


Then the National Game comes up and he wins that too getting £380,000.

The bingo caller gets him up on stage and says,

'Son, I've been here 20 years and I've never seen anyone win four corners,
a line, the full-house and the national game on the same card.

You must be the luckiest man on Earth!'

'Lucky?' he screamed. 'Lucky? I'll have you know I've got Yellow 24 .'

'**** me,' says the bingo caller. 'You've won the raffle as well !!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Blue flags

On the front page of today's Isle of Thanet Gazette I see the three main tourist beaches in Thanet have lost their blue flag awards. Obviously such news is a bitter blow to those who care and probably puts a small dent in the tourism trade. Obviously this is disappointing news but I cannot understand why there should be so much gloom over the issue , because by comparison to the situation in the past, today's Thanet beaches have come a long way.
For decades the sea has been a convenient dustbin and a extension of our sewage system. In the Victorian era we had Typhoid and Cholera outbreaks due to the sudden increase in population over the summer months. I can even think back to 35 years ago when fat from the sewage outfalls would coat flotsam in Northerly winds, I can remember the mass of beach litter on the tide, I can remember sewage slicks and toilet paper at Foreness. Also I can remember mass deaths of crabs from the sudden release of fresh water from storm drains. The list is about as long as my arm.
Today the situation is so much different as the sea and beaches are so much cleaner, we even have thriving oyster and prawn populations. Also the beach litter problems from the tide are greatly reduced.
Scientifically I do believe we still have a problem and we always will until the discharges into the sea stop. The results can be up and down which is far better than constantly bad and that leaves the big question. What would happen if every single discharge into the sea from Thanet was to stop would we still have blue flag failures as there is a frightening prospect it could be yes.

During this past winter I extended my search area as a coastal warden of the Western Undercliff to take in Pegwell Bay, where there is a noticeable pattern that a part of Pegwell Bay is a dumping ground of all the debris picked up by the tide in South Westerly winds. It appears the tidal currents from the Channel that run into the Downs across the Sandwich flats deposit into Pegwell Bay. That probably explains how the beached Sperm Whale appeared there and the deposits of sea coal. Unfortunately it is a vehicle to import pollution but even though at present it can look unsightly there is little visible impact on the marine life as the debris is inert, that is unless something serious happens further down the coast like a discharge.
In Pegwell Bay at present the good news is the Lugworm population is strong and I have been informed that this year there will be a commercial cockle harvest.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Unidentified bone ?



Other people's finds on the Thanet coast always interests me and this little gem is no exception. It is a piece of unidentified bone found on Westbrook Beach by Timothy Kirby. From the photograph posted it is definitely a piece of vertebrae and the identity of the animal does remain a mystery. I do like the lovely weathered beach look of the bone which does set it of. As mentioned in previous postings I have set myself up a little project to collect bone and teeth from the Thanet coastline this late spring and into the summer. However, I would still love to hear from anyone who has also found similar finds.


Yesterday I received a email from Natural England the body that licenses the ownership of derivatives from European endangered species. My aim is to obtain legal ownership of the pieces of Sperm Whale bone retrieved from Pegwell Bay. I had to give a submission as to why they should granted me a license stating my intentions . I have this awful feeling that I could lose the lot however I have stated that I would like everything to go to a local Thanet museum which has been my intention all along. I do find it strange that every man and his dog has been able to pick up pieces of bone from the site and the clearance of the site has not been exactly thorough. Yet according to Government regulations it is illegal to own Sperm Whale without a licence.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Following the line

Following the election count on Friday it was a case of going straight home, getting changed. Then off to the Marine Studios to see an Art exhibition by Roy Eastland at the Marine Studios Albert Terrace Margate. I should also add that I was also answering a plea by Kate who runs Marine Studios to collect a Whale Bone exhibit that had turned for the worse in this warm weather. Looking across the bay at the spectacular view from the studios of Margate main sands, I noticed this line of shingle that had developed on the main sands after the recent North Easterly winds. Something I know from the past as this time of year produces some very interesting finds when the weather is unsettled. Most of the finds tend to be fossils and evidence of the Victorian and Edwardian seaside holidays. It doesn't take rocket science to work it out it is just a case of following a line of exposed shingle and walk from one end of the main sands to the other with a bucket picking up anything of interest. An area like the one photographed when exposed like this is alive with fossils like belemnites (fossilized squid), sponges and clam. With the more recent finds from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries consisting of pieces of patterned pottery, bottle stoppers, bottle fragments, worn glass, clay pipe stems and bowls , and so on. On this occasion I picked up half a bucket of the above. After a quick sort out I decided to keep and photograph a few items for this posting. In the top right of the photograph are belemnites and to the left is a clam and some fossilized sponges which are very common . In the centre is a blob top of a Victorian torpedo shaped mineral water bottle and below are the broken bases of the same type of bottle. The marble is of the type used in a Codd mineral water bottle as a internal stopper of which was most like from a bottle smashed by a young boy at the time, only to be lost on the beach. Of the pottery I found, everything was more or less patterned and bore no local logo's and like the clay pipe stems and bowls I left them where I found them.



Getting back to the Marine Studios reception I did meet a Portuguese artist who is collecting Mermaid purses from the Thanet coast to make a work of art, he informs me that he has now got 4,000 mermaid purses and the collection is still growing. I had a lengthy chat with him and he was telling me about his fascination of the Thanet coast and the things that can be found on the strand line, something we do take for granted living on the coast.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

On the RTC - a reflection






It took until 17:oo hrs on Friday afternoon to be confirmed that I am now a Labour member for Central Harbour on Ramsgate Town Council. I am under no illusions, as I feel the only reason I was elected was because I was a Labour candidate and not because my name is Tony Ovenden on the ballot paper. This probably explains explains why I beat Ralph Hoult "Mr Ramsgate" by about 60 votes. It may all sound very political but in reality the people of Ramsgate have voted for change and for a Labour town council with a manifesto for Ramsgate, something I feel very comfortable with.




The need for change in Ramsgate was unidentified years ago years ago when a group under the banner of Ramsgate First petitioned and campaigned for a Town Council and won. Change is always a good thing but in this day and age it is still generally spearheaded by people who have a touch of grey in their hair or going thin on top in places, myself included. Change in my view is more about continuous improvement and in Ramsgate's case it is more about the quality of life issues something the town council is there to deliver. The big question is at what cost ?




Well the general consensus is pretty clear, there is not a lot of money about and it is a case of spending money wisely , something I am sure most working people in Ramsgate are familiar with. My colleagues on the RTC have got ideas on how this will be achieved something I am sure will be made clear after a few meetings,

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Pegwell Bay Whale - a summary of events




Following my research into Sperm Whale strandings around the world and how they are dealt with, I came across this manual on how to rebuild a Sperm Whale, which I must admit was a bit of a surprise. This manual was used in conjunction with a school project by the Homer High School in Alaska and the Pratt Museum to rebuild a skeleton of a Sperm Whale. The Whale like the one stranded in Pegwell Bay was dead on the foreshore. Instead of cutting it up with chain saws and pulling it apart with JCB's and then putting in skips to be dumped in landfill like what happened in Thanet. They stripped their one of much flesh as possible and then buried it, only to later dig it up and clean the bones. Then rebuild the skeleton as part of a school project with a local museum. However, I must admit preserving the Whale remains as a school project is probably more to do with Alaskan culture .
On similar web sites in New Zealand they also buried a dead Sperm Whale from a stranding. After the air cleared a bit and nature has done its job, they in New Zealand dug it up and cleaned the bones. The bones either went into exhibition or to make Maori jewellery and scrimshaws etc.
In Thanet things were done differently, firstly the Sperm Whale once it touched shore became a royal fish property of the crown. This involved the Receiver of Wrecks , DEFRA and the Institute of Zoology which is common practice throughout the UK. However, Channel four expressed an interest as they wanted to make a documentary investigating the stranding including the autopsy. A deal was struck on the condition that Channel Four was responsible for the cost of the disposal of the Whale. As soon as the filming was complete and the institute of Zoology had completed their preliminary findings the Whale was taken to the Pegwell Bay disused Hover port slipway for disposal. There it became the responsibility of Thanet District Council to organise the disposal of the Whale with Channel Four picking up the bill. Before the Whale was cut up the Institute of Zoology had the jaw bone and selected other body parts to be removed , these items were then transported away in a refrigerated vehicle for further research.
The carcase of the whale was then cut up with chain saws and then pulled apart with JCB's and then loaded into skips and was removed from the site to be dumped in land fill, nothing was retained for local interest. Fortunatley for me the site was not entirely cleared of Whale remains. After a couple of tides the strand line of the hover port slipway was a mass of congealed whale blood and whale meat. The rocks to the left as you look out to sea were coated in Whale blubber and around the base of the hover port slipway where large lumps of the whales innards oozing out a white waxy fat. Amongst all mess were splinters of bone fragments and at the base of the slipway were section of vertebrae in the mud. Considering nothing had been salvaged or retained for local interest I set about to salvage bone fragments. My intentions were to collect items for natural history purposes, or for artistic purposes (scrimshaw) to commemorate the event.
I collected many pieces which I either kept as found or as in the case of splinters I made into workable shapes. I even shaped some into arrow heads and needles.
I then carried out research into the whole subject of Whales, strandings and scrimshaw to add information to the collection I had amassed. It did not take long to discover that anything related to Whales was regulated by the CITES convention article 10. CITES being the control of international trade in endangered species. As this was the responsibility of DEFRA I then informed them I have Sperm Whale bone in my possession. In no uncertain terms I was told I could not own the bone without permission from the receiver of wrecks. Not being sure if I was acting legally or illegally I contacted my MP Luara Sandys for clarification.
To date, I have been informed by the receiver of wrecks that I can keep the Whale bone and DEFRA are happy for me to own it providing I contact Natural England who are the legal governing body on European species. However, I am now currently subject to restrictions, for example I cannot sell it as the Whale derivatives cannot be exploited for financial gain. This also means that if I donated the Whale bone to a Museum they cannot charge a entrance fee if the Whale bone is on exhibition as this is deemed as exploitation of the Whale for commercial purposes. In other countries that have signed up to CITIES like the USA and New Zealand, Whale bone from strandings can be exhibited in fee paying Museums and it can be crafted and sold within it's own territorial borders but cannot be exported.