On Oct. 1, the Coastal Elasmobranch Society (CES), also known as Shark Club, was out at Surfside Beach Pier, walking around the shore and picking up discarded trash as part of their regular beach clean-ups.
CES has been doing these types of cleanups for four years.
Club President Cheyenne Cunningham talked about why the club takes part in doing this and the overall goal of the cleanups.
“We are essentially gathering as a group to participate in beach clean-ups to push for environmental stewardship with pride while we represent Coastal Carolina,” said Cunningham. “The visual impact may influence beachgoers to be more cognizant on how they can do their part. The events also push members to socialize with peers who have similar interests. When it all boils down to it, students join organizations to make friends, and I am happy to be a part of that system.”
While CES is more commonly known as Shark Club, the organization focuses on more than just sharks. The definition of an elasmobranch is any of a subclass (Elasmobranchii) of cartilaginous fishes that have five to seven lateral to ventral gill openings on each side and that comprise the sharks, rays, skates and extinct related fishes.
And while the organization does study and bring awareness to the conversation of such creatures, Cunningham says that there is more to the club than meets the eye.
“Don’t let the nickname ‘shark club’ be deceiving,” said Cunningham. “We love sharks, but we as an organization focus to spread awareness to inspire ocean conservation on a broad spectrum.”
CES takes part in a wide variety of events in the community to raise awareness about the ocean and the creatures that call it home. Last spring, group members gave a presentation at Carolina Forest Elementary School.
“Local elementary school outreach programs, Aquarium trips, boat trips with Dr. Dan Abel and maintaining ties with the Bimini Biological Field Station are a few highlights take pride in,” said Cunningham.
The club is always looking for members to join and share passion with shark and ocean conservation.