NEWS: SPRING 2004
REPORTS AND NEWS
Whale, Physeter catodon, became
stranded on the same island of Vlieland as the Humpback
Whale three days earlier. The 15 metre long
whale was dead for about two weeks before it washed up on the North Sea
coast of the Netherlands.
News Reports Index
a few months, a third Humpback Whale, Megaptera
novaengliae, has stranded in The Netherlands. The eight metre long
female whale stranded on the island of Vlieland was only a young whale;
the adults are over 11 metres long. This individual also bears the scars
of nylon fishing gear and seemed to be freshly dead.
Whales (first live record from the Netherlands)
new film called Deep Blue from the makers of the Blue
Planet opens in good
pregnant male Seahorse,
guttulatus, was discovered and photographed
in Poole Bay, Dorset. This is the first recorded instance of a pregnant
in the northern English Channel and anywhere in the seas surrounding the
British Isles and is therefore the first confirmed instance of successful
breeding, which has long been suspected. Discharge of the young into the
shallow sheltered ways of Poole Bay seemed imminent.
and Photograph by Steve Trewhella (Poole, Dorset)
Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were found
washed up dead on the Cornish coast in the space of a week, with the latest
discovered at Perranporth, North Cornwall. Others have been washed up dead,
at Gerran Bay, Coverack, Roseland Bay and the Fal estuary.
young female Hooded Seal, Cystophora
cristata, was discovered on Dunnet
Beach, (just west of John o' Groats, north coast of Scotland) Caithness.
It was treated by British
Divers Marine Life Rescue who plan to return the seal to the Orkney
Isles nearer its natural habitat around Greenland and the Denmark Strait
(between Iceland and Greenland).
by Alistair Jack of British
Divers Marine Life Rescue
Marine Life Rescue News Page (with the Full Report)
extraordinary raft of Moon Jellyfish,
aurita, was seen eight miles (13 km) off the coast of north-west
Wales, off the Lleyn peninsula at the north of Cardigan Bay. The Moon
Jellyfish had somehow contrived to wedge themselves
together into a continuous raft of eight metres square, each of the tens
of thousands of jellyfish about 10 cm in diameter, each wedged several
deep in one large teeming mass, each jellyfish "pulsing down" in the glassy
dead calm sea between two headlands. This unusual congregation has been
reported once before in the enclosed Scottish Loch
Nevis, but has not been recorded before in the open sea.
by Barry Pugh
WORLD OCEANS DAY
was one of the leaders in the United Kingdom when it presented an Exhibition
celebrating the official World Oceans Day. It was
held in the large marquee on
Green overlooking the River
the attendance on a sunny day (21.4° C)
the sheer number of people it made it impossible to speak to people as
much as I would like. There were lots of interesting conversations and
I was surprised about the number of people who stepped on a Weever
Fish last summer, at least half a dozen, and it was lucky we had
a small specimen on display so people could have a look at the offender.
most interesting discovery was an unidentified fossil found on Shoreham
beach and brought in by a young girl. This is illustrated on the right.
World Oceans Day 2004 Image Portfolio (by Ray Hamblett)
Crab, Paramola cuvieri,
was caught 12 miles off Falmouth by fisherman
Arfee Treneer, from Mylor, Cornwall. The extremely
long legs of this deep water crab give it by far the largest span of any
of the crabs found in the North-east Atlantic Ocean, although its body
is not much larger than the Spiny Spider Crab,
squinado. It is a rare capture and
according to the BBC Report only the sixth ever caught in British seas
and second by this fisherman. This crab like
all the giant long-legged crabs is an inhabitant of very deep water in
excess of 150 metres and down to depths of 1500 metres.
This one was caught in much shallower depths and brought alive, but damaged,
to the Blue Reef Aquarium
at Newquay. The bionomics of this crab are not well known.
30 minute spell of push-netting for shrimps
off Shoreham beach on the low spring tide produced
two dozen Brown Shrimps,
crangon, a handful of the South-clawed
Hermit Crab, Diogenes pugilator,
one young venomous Lesser Weever,
two juvenile Grey
Swimming Crabs, Liocarcinus
vernalis, with 30+ young Flounders
and two young Sole.
The crab in the photograph with the "fleur-de lis" is Portumnus latipes.
at Low Tide
sp., was caught in an otter trawl in Bristol Channel south of Swansea
at 2:30 pm in
the small (under 10 metre) fishing vessel MFV
Wonkey SA357, skippered by Robert (or Kevin) Davies.
It weighed 120 kg (265 lb), and was 261
cm (8 ft 6") long (including the tail fin) and 246 cm long (excluding the
tail). It was caught at a depth of between 10 and 20 metres.I believe it
to be Acipenser sturio,
but the snout is fairly short and blunt, more like Acipenser
(but this is a Danube/Black
10 metre long juvenile*
Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, is
spotted close inshore off the holiday resort and fishing town of Whitby,
Yorkshire, on the east coast of England.
Richardson, a field agent with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, said:
"It's definitely a Humpback Whale. You can tell by the distinctive tail
fin and the fact that the pectoral fin has a white underside."
Sexual maturity is attained at an age of 4 to 6 years at a mean length
of 11.6 metres in males and 12.1 metres in females.)
Sneddon, skipper of the Mary Ann Hepworth – Whitby's famous former lifeboat
which now offers sea trips – was gobsmacked by the sighting. He managed
to take photographs of the whale. Barry said: "The crew on the Esk Bell
saw it first but they thought it was a Basking Shark. "When we got to it
we could tell it was a whale straight away. "It was alongside the boat
for about five or ten minutes and everyone was taking photos of it. It
even blew water out of its blowhole". (From Whitby Today)
Today News Report
Marine fish &
of Northern Europe
Emil Moen & Erling Svensen
2004 the English edition of the very popular
Norwegian Marine Fauna (Dyreliv I havet) was published. Prof. David
Bellamy has written the foreword.
on the image for more information.
was spotted in Falmouth Bay, Cornwall, following a sailing boat three mile
south of Black Rock.
by Sue Burrows via Ruth Williams
on Cornish Marine Sightings (Fish)
professional anglers witnessed a Thresher
Shark, Alopias, leap completely
out of the water, tail and all, four consecutive times to the west of Alderney,
Channel Islands, Great Britain at about 8:00
pm. One angler told me that he estimated the
body length of the shark at about 170 cm. The leaping activity occurred
about 100 metres away from their boat. The leaps were head first and perpendicular
out of the water. The anglers were drift-fishing for Bass,
labrax, approximately one mile west of Garden Rock, which has a
colony covering the entire rock. Atlantic Mackerel, Scomber
scombrus, were also in the area.
molluscs known as Akera bullata
were seen swimming on the surface of the sea and scooped into a net from
the south-east corner of Queen Elizabeth II Marina, St Helier, Jersey,
in the Channel Islands (English Channel). Most
gastropod (snail-like) molluscs with shells crawl over the rocks and cannot
swim, so the very sight of a shelled animal on the surface of the sea is
likely to provoke curiosity.
is a primitive representative of the Anaspidea (Sea Hares), an opisthobranch
gastropod mollusc. It
has an fragile external shell which protects only part of its body and
the mollusc is reported to spend most of its time burrowing in soft mud,
but is capable of sporadic periods of swimming and eats algae.
The captured specimens were only three out of about ten and were only about
25 mm long and were returned to the marina after identification. This appears
to be the first record for Jersey in a marina that provides a home for
other southern species with unusual records in the recent past. Information
about the biology of Akera bullata is exiguous and it is only
known to British rockpoolers as part of a mass
stranding at Torbay, Devon. Its known habitats include sheltered bays
sp., and it has been reported all around the British coasts, from Norway
to the Mediterranean Sea and down to depths of 370 metres, so this a widespread
species, but with habits that mean it is not normally encountered by man.
It is also reported to have years of abundance so it is a bit of a surprise
that it is not more widely known.
to the Original Message (with more information)
small subsp. farrani population of this mollusc occurs in the Fleet
discovered by James Letto
of the States of Jersey Harbours Department
of a green specimen of Aplysia punctata by Peter Glanvill
the recent gales have battered the north-west of Cornwall, large amounts
of kelp has been
washed on to the shore all around Trescore in the recent gales and left
rotting on the beach at Porthcothan (south of Padstow). With the tonnes
of washed up seaweed there were a large number of Sea
punctata, which feed on the small seaweeds and epiphytes on large
weeds. These Sea Hares
have years of abundance and they were observed in appreciable numbers in
Pier Picture Gallery (with Tompot Blennies)
very colourful blenny has made a niche for itself in a crevice on the wreck
of the "James
Elgan Layne" in Whitsand Bay, Plymouth, Devon.
This is a common small fish known as a Tompot
gattorugine, not the similar but more colourful fish known as the
ruber, which has only recently been
discovered as an inhabitant of the seas around Ireland and Scotland, could
be mistaken for the fish in the photograph on the left. The latter discovery
would be newsworthy.
feature in the "Torpedo" News Bulletin
Southwest / Cornwall Dolphin Group
Whales, Orcinus orca, are spotted
just after midday by local fishermen north of the Brisons, near Cape
Cornwall off the far western tip of the Cornish coast.
of Cornwall (including Cornish beaches)
am we noticed (viewing from the Battery car
park) about a dozen Bottle-nosed Dolphins,
truncatus, just outside Aberdeen harbour. Looking closely at these
active dolphins, we realised that they were vigorously 'playing' with a
single Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena
phocoena. During 20 minutes of observation the poor porpoise was constantly
surrounded by at least eight adult (or fully-grown) dolphins. They continuously
tossed it high into the air (up to about 5 metres) and were also observed
swimming with it in their mouths. Throughout the Porpoise
seemed to be alive and was presumably trying to get away. When we left
it still appeared to be alive although we don't know how badly injured
it was, if at all. In view of recent reports from the Moray Firth of Bottle-nosed
Dolphins killing Porpoises
we can only assume the worst for it.
were spotted by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Society survey team in the Bardsey
Sound, north-west Wales, at around 6:00
pm. Unfortunately, these dolphins were quickly
lost in the Bardsey fog last seen heading northwest. Subsequently, we heard
reports from locals that eight dolphins with "big white heads" had
been seen that day (about11:30 am)
from the view point at the tip of the Lleyn Peninsula, so just around the
point from where we had seen them. This pod was said to have been close
in to shore and to have had two smaller dolphins, perhaps calves, in it.
Jellyfish: Mauve Stinger
but if a not deadly jellyfish, the Mauve
Stinger, Pelagia noctiluca, can
impart a nasty sting to the unlucky
swimmer. They are now being seen around the Channel Islands. I found one
stranded in a rock pool by Lithou Island on
the east coast of Guernsey on 7 April, 2004
and another stranded in a rock pool on the east coast south of St. Peter
Port on 8 April 2004.
Strandings of this jellyfish seem to occur often in spring around these
islands. They are not common around the rest of the British Isles but there
are reports in some years off the south and west coasts, especially off
March - 2 April 2004
Seal, Phoca vitulina, ventures
up the River Thames to the densely populated urban area at Lambeth and
gets covered in mud, prompting a rescue mission by
Divers Marine Life Rescue.
Divers Marine Life Rescue News Page (with the Full Report)
former Royal Navy frigate has been sunk off Cornwall to create the UK's
first artificial diving reef. Thousands of people watched from Whitsand
Bay near Plymouth as HMS
Scylla was scuttled at 3:28
explosives were detonated by 12-year-old Daniel
Green, from Ivybridge, Devon, accompanied
by environmentalist David Bellamy.
position of the Scylla Artificial Reef is 50º 19.64 ´N
004º 15.20´W with the bow facing south-west, about 800 metres
from the wreck of the James Eagan Layne. It is on the bottom at 20
metres below Chart Datum and listing 20º
to starboard. The sea bottom is dark granule
diving team at the National
Marine Aquarium were the first civilian divers to ever dive on the
unique Scylla reef, after the Royal Navy divers had been down to inspect
the sunken warship.
first fish to arrive was a Ballan Wrasse,