MARINE LIFE NEWS        2006

Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the fauna and flora of the NE Atlantic Ocean

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Summer 2006

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For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below:

Link to the News Reports, October to December 2006



26 September 2006
A Sponge Crab, Dromia personata, with a Suberites sponge attached as camouflage and protection was caught off the coast of Alderney in the Channel Islands.  A handful of these southern warm water crabs are recorded as being captured or seen every year. 

23 September 2006
We dived in Brighton Marina in the same area (near the entrance) that the adult Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, was discovered in June, and over a period of a few hours we spotted about a dozen juvenile Seahorses ranging in size from 10 to 25 mm. They were not all found together. This looks as if there is a population breeding in the marina. 

in Brighton Marina

Photograph by
Michelle Legg

Seahorse in the shallow surface waters of Brighton Marina (Photograph by Michelle Legg)

All Seahorses are a protected species in British seas and collection for whatever reason is illegal.

BMLSS Seahorses

A Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, was discovered washed up on Castletown beach, near Thurso, on the extreme northerly tip of mainland Scotland. These southern fish a now regularly seen in the English Channel but are unusual so far north and was not immediately recognised by the local people.

Report by George Shearer from the Caithness Forum
BMLSS Triggerfish
22 September 2006
A 8 metre long Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, became wedged in the  King George Dock in the River Humber estuary near Hull, where it died. 

15 September 2006
Fisherman Geoff Blake was stunned when he discovered an unusual 30 cm long fish in his regular morning catch off Ventnor, southern Isle of Wight. The fish was  identified* by the fisherman as the first ever Lesser Amberjack, Seriola fasciata, to be found in British seas. All four of the Amberjacks of the North Atlantic Ocean are vagrants in British seas and there are only 17 confirmed records of the other three species. This fish was caught in 6 metres of water, just 200 metres from the shore. 
(*Identity to be confirmed. These fish are difficult to identify, sometimes requiring a count of the gill rakers. Recent fish caught have been the Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana.)

2004 Amberjack Report
BMLSS Amberjack Notes

13 September 2006
A vagrant Atlantic Tripletail, Lobotes surinamensis, was caught in a stake net on
the banks of the River Severn near Newport. The fish is now in the National Museum and Galleries of Wales with the Curator of Vertebrates, Peter Howlett.
This tropical fish is likely to be the first one ever caught in British seas. It is a sluggish offshore fish that often floats on its side near the surface in the company of floating objects.

9 September 2006 
Steve Trewhella and Julie Hatcher found about sixteen Compass Jellyfish, Chrysaora hysoscella, washed up on the beach at Sandymouth Bay, near Bude in north Cornwall
Photograph © by Richard Lord (Guernsey) Photograph © by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Amphipod Hyperia galba on a Compass Jellyfish
from Yerseke Marina in the Netherlands
Photographs © by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

A number of these contained the symbiotic amphipod crustacean Hyperia galba alive inside them. These are remarkable little creatures with large green eyes, and as adults they are only found in jellyfish.

BMLSS Jellyfish-1
BMLSS Jellyfish-2
BMLSS Hyperia

6 September 2006
A 210 kg (gutted weight) Thresher Shark, Alopias, was caught in the North Sea, landed in Sweden and put on sale in Finland.

BMLSS Sharks
BMLSS Shark News

August 2006

This attractive crab was brought in by a potter from Milford Haven, south-west Wales. It is about 40 mm wide and is now alive and well in the Silent World Aquarium at Tenby. It is the species Monodaeus couchi which is seldom recorded and may be one of the rarer crabs from the seas around the British Isles.


31 August - 1 September 2006
A pair of Northern Bottle-nosed Whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus, were washed up alive on the Lincolnshire coast (North Sea east coast of England) and despite strenuous attempts by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue using pontoons to float the whales, the female died on the scene, and the male towed 1.2 km out ot sea and seen to swim away, was found washed up dead at Seacroft, near Skegness,  on the second day.

Previous Stranding in London

25 August 2006
An unusual discovery of a fresh but dead 27 kg (60 lb) Tuna was found on a soft mud bank at Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, south Wales, by local angler Nick Roberts and it was pulled ashore with some difficulty by three teenagers. The exact species is not known at present: the most likely species is the Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus. 

BMLSS Tuna Page

17 August 2006
A Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was seen in Brixham Harbour, Devon, near the Lifeboat station. It was about 2.5 metres in length. 

During a routine aerial survey for marine wildlife off the southwestern tip of Cornwall this morning, researchers from the University of Exeter School of Biosciences, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Cornwall Wildlife Trust counted 18 Basking Sharks. They were concentrated on the north coast and spotted during the two-hour aerial survey.

BMLSS Basking Sharks

13 - 14 August 2006

Buoy Barnacles on White Park Bay beach (north Antrim)
Photograph by Dave Harrison

Large numbers of Buoy Barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, were found stranded on the north coast beaches of Northern Ireland, e.g. Portstewart Strand and White Park Bay (County Antrim). There were at least six of these batches seen on the White Park Bay beach during the walk

Buoy Barnacles are attached to floats that they had secreted that have a texture like that of expanding foam.

BMLSS Barnacles
Earlier Report (received after this one)

August 2006

A Long-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala melas, was washed up dead on Gruinard Bay, off Gruinard Island. The nearest place on the map is probably Laide

August 2006
Twenty one years after they were reintroduced, the hard work by conservation groups, volunteers, the police, local communities and landowners, has paid off with the two hundredth White-tailed Sea Eagle, Halieetus albicilla, chick fledging in the wild on the Isle of Skye. 
12 August 2006

Minke Whale (Photograph by Adrian G Fitzwilliam)

A Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, was discovered washed up dead on the rocky coast at Seascale in Cumbria (NW England). A Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, was also washed up dead within 10 metres of the whale. 

Report and Photograph by Adrian G Fitzwilliam
BMLSS Cetacea

7 August 2006
A vagrant 18 kg (40 lb) Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares (originally identified as a Big-eyed Tuna, Thunnus obesus), was a rare capture by a commercial net fisherman 70 miles off Land's End and 2,000 miles adrift of its usual habitat in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It was only the second capture on record from British seas.

BMLSS Tunnies

7 August 2006
Peter Dent spotted a two metre long Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, (58 lb = 26 kg) thrashing about in his salmon net a mile off Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland (north-east England). Because of its size and the damage it was causing the fish had to be killed.

Peter Dent (with Phillip and Imogen) and the Swordfish (Photograph by Alan Charlton)

Peter Dent (with Phillip and Imogen) and the Swordfish
Photograph by Alan Charlton
Northern Federation of Sea Anglers Society (NFSAS) 

This is the first recent record of a Swordfish being caught off the British mainland coast, although there have been both sightings and Swordfish washed ashore dead this century. This fish was thought have to have been following the Mackerel shoals. 

BBC News Report
Notification from Doug Herdson, (National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth.)
Earlier Devon Report 2006
BMLSS Swordfishes

Tadpole Fish, Raniceps raninus

Andreas Widegren caught a record weight (542 g) angling catch for Sweden of the small fish known as the Tadpole Fish, Raniceps raninus. It measured 33 cm long.
Link to Full Report & Photograph

Report by Kent Andersson
BMLSS Tadpole Fish

3 - 7 August 2006

Bouy Barnacles (Photograph by Alison)

Buoy Barnacles from Connemara
Photograph by Alison

Thousands of the stalked Buoy Barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, are washed ashore on the beaches of Connemara, County Galway, south-west Ireland. They were stranded all along the west coast of Ireland. 

Report and Photograph by Alison
BMLSS Barnacles

1 August 2006
Another Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, was discovered washed up on the strandline, near Brighton Pier (=Palace Pier) by beginning of Volk’s Railway (TQ 315038). The discoverer was a Mr J Chapman.

BMLSS Seahorses

July 2006
This month was characterised by an unprecedented heat wave over northern Europe with air temperatures exceeding 30 ºC and the prolonged heatwave resulted in elevated sea water temperatures in shallow coastal waters. 

Links to the Ocean Weather surface sea temperature page
The local inshore sea temperature at Shoreham-by-Sea (Sussex) was 19.8 °C on 20 July 2006. However, in the central English Channel the surface sea temperature measured 16.8°C.
Surface Sea Temperatures (Link)

27 July 2006 
THE UK Government has published proposals to stop new fisheries targeting Tope, a species of large coastal shark. Defra proposed pre-emptive measures after receiving reports in 2005 that a commercial fishing operation to catch the sharks was being considered. The fishery never materialised, but the Department remains concerned that any future proposals for targeting Tope would be unsustainable because of the shark's life-cycle.

20 July 2006
During a routine aerial survey for marine wildlife off the most south-western tip of Cornwall, researchers from the University of Exeter School of Biosciences, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Cornwall Wildlife Trust counted 19 Sunfish, Mola mola, in two hours.

Report on Fish Update
BMLSS Sunfish

July 2006

Shad (Photograph  by Charles Fleming)

This shad was caught off Orcambe Point, Devon, from a boat, half a mile off shore in about 12 metres (40 foot) of water. It took a small "sabiki type" feather on a trace of six and was caught on the same retrieve as two Mackerel. It was 30 cm (1 ft) long approx. The most noticeable feature was the scales which came off easily when handled and were very iridescent. It was a striking, attractive blue on the back. There was a noticeable row of tiny short spines on the "keel" off the belly which folded completely if stroked head to tail. The scales extended onto the sharply forked tail.
This fish is probably a Twaite Shad, Alosa fallax.

Report by Charles Fleming
Previous Reports
6 July 2006
Jellyfish were washed ashore on the sandy Beadnell Beach on the Northumberland Coast, north-east England and probably on many other shores as well. The species were  the Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, and a smaller blue one was probably the Bluefire Jellyfish, Cyanea lamarckii. BMLSS Jellyfish
BMLSS Strandlining

June/July 2006
I have received numerous (well over a dozen) reports of Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, from around the northern and eastern coast of Britain from divers seeing live fish and beachcombers discovering dead fish on the strandline. There were too many reports for me to include all of them on this web page. 

July 2006
All this July there have been massive breeding aggregations of Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus around Flamborough Head Yorkshire.

Report by Mark Henry


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