Belgium’s favourite marine animals

This video is called Shark Academy: Spiny Dogfish Shark.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

The Belgian ‘Big Five’ – 13 December 2015

The spiny dogfish shark, the starfish, the great skua, the sea sparkle, the common cuttlefish, the edible crab and the harbour porpoise. These are the North Sea residents who have already been nominated for the ‘Big Five’ of the Belgian part of the North Sea. The Flanders Marine Institute collects until January 15 the votes of their inhabitants. They already asked seven BV’ers (Famous Flemish People) about their favorite sea creature.

Kite surfer: spiny dogfish shark

Christophe Tack was kitesurfing freestyle world champion in 2014. When he did a photoshoot in the same year he found a living spiny dogfish shark of 35 cm in the surf. He brought the animal to deeper water. In addition, he noticed that it is a “very nice, almost elegant” fish.

This video is called Starfish facts: 11 facts about Sea Stars.

Sailing woman: starfish

Evy van Acker is number one in the world ranking in the Laser Radial sailboat class. In her youth she spent many holidays and weekends near the sea. She searched for crabs and starfish on the breakwaters. Starfish she did not find often, but “If I found a starfish then I was over the moon, I was fascinated by the beautiful colours, symmetry, the rough bumps and the strong suckers.”

This video is called Great Skua (Stercorarius skua).

Biologist-writer: great skua

Dick Draulans is a biologist and science communicator. He joined in 2009 and 2010 for the Belgian TV channel Canvas the Beagle expedition, in the wake of Charles Darwin. During the sailing trip across two oceans the great skua often was the first bird which came into view as the ship came near land.

This video from Australia is called Sea sparkles in southern Tasmania.

Comedian: sea sparkle

Lieven Scheire is a famous cabaret artist, comedian and television producer. Lieven opts for the sea sparkle. He is fascinated by the light show which these single-celled creatures can cause if they have gained enough energy. “I’m a fan, that is clear: I have even started the article on sea sparkle in the Dutch Wikipedia.”

This video is about common cuttlefish in the Oosterschelde estuary in the Netherlands.

Journalist: common cuttlefish

Martin Heylen is a journalist and as a television producer he is known for many travel programs. He chooses the cuttlefish. “If it is dead a cuttlefish seems to be just a pile of slippery parts thrown together, but I’ve been lucky enough to see an attack by a cuttlefish while snorkeling. Impressive (..) but also the culinary quality is important. Common cuttlefish has a specific sweetish-salty flavour.”

This video is about an edible crab.

Secretary: edible crab

Bart Tommelein is government Secretary for North Sea Affairs, inter alia. He recognizes a bit of himself in the edible crab. “It relies on its solid construction, its large claws and thick armour to protect itself. In its [Dutch] name [Noordzeekrab] it represents, like me, the North Sea (..) Oh yeah, I would.. almost forget, this crab is of course also very tasty!”

This is a video from California in the USA about harbour porpoises.

Governor: harbour porpoise

Carl Decaluwé is governor of the province of West Flanders. That job is called in the Netherlands ‘Commissioner of the King.’ “The porpoise is my favorite North Sea animal. This valiant little creature is a small dolphin. So, a mammal with lungs. And a top predator. Because it is small the porpoise feeds especially in fishing grounds because it needs lots of food to keep his body temperature up.”

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