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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Winter 2006

Skye (Photograph by Jon Bramley)

BMLSS (England) Index
BMLSS (Facebook)

Norwegian Marine***
to Other Sites
(Click on Text)
Smart Group
Encyclopedia of Marine Life 
Articles in other Journals. Publications

Monthly Marine News Bulletin
Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database
 Cetacean List (NE Atlantic)

Snail Mail

World Oceans Day 2006
BBC Buoy Table (Sea Temperatures, Wave Heights etc.)
Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas


01825  765546 


 0207 942 5155 


For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below: 

Link to the News Reports, October to December 2006


29 March 2006

Sipunculus nudus

The peanut worm (sipunculid) Sipunculus nudus which was dug up by a bait digger in Belle Greve Bay on Guernsey's east coast, just north of St. Peter Port. The animal was about 132 mm long and weighed 33 grams. Of course, with the extended introvert it would be longer. It was quick to bury itself.

The bait digger revealed on the same stretch of beach the echinoderms
Echinocardium cordatum, and Leptosynapta inhaerens and the bivalves Ensis
siliqua and Dosinia lupinus.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

14 March 2006

A Deal Fish, Trachipterus arcticus, was captured in a trawl (by Swedish trawler GG 348) at a depth of 200 metres in the northern Skagerrak off the south coast of Norway. The fish weighed 12 kg and was measured with a total length of 177 cm. The photograph above shows Swedish fishmonger Svante Wedin with the elongate fish. 

The Deal Fish is a rare deep water ribbon-fish with only a handful of North Sea coast reports of this fish on record. Most records have been in surface trawls or washed up dead on the beach. This fish swims vertically in the water rising towards the surface with the deep water plankton and their predators at night and descending during the day. It feeds on squids and small fishes. 
Irish Captures (Message)

26 February 2006
A two metre long Deal Fish, Trachipterus arcticus, was reported caught by 16 year old angler Vibeke Thomasson at Sørevågen, Utsira, Norway. The full report includes a photograph showing the red dorsal fin.
Full Report
Another 1993 Report (in Swedish)

25 February 2006
An eel-like Red Band Fish, Cepola rubescens, was discovered at the wave-break  as the sea splashed against the shore at Highcliffe, Dorset. The fish was thrown back into the water and it was seen to swim off.
NB. There infrequently recorded fish lives in burrows offshore and is rarely seen with occasional live specimens seen out of its normal habitat when its burrows are destroyed by gales and other disruption. It may not be as uncommon as the few records indicate because its habitat means that it is rarely seen alive. There have been even fewer records of this fish being caught on an angler's line. 

Report by David Meadon
BMLSS Red Band Fish (under construction)

24 February 2006
An oiled and very old and worn Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, was washed up on the rocky shore at Cuckmere Haven (near the Seven Sisters), East Sussex. It was at the end of its life span and was euthanised. 
NB: Grey Seals are almost unknown off Sussex, where the Common Seal, Phoca vitulina, is only occasionally seen.

Seal Conservation Society
Marine Life of Sussex News

21 February 2006
A new record weight Angler Fish, Lophius piscatorius, weighed in at 78 kg with a total length of 164 cm, was captured in a net by Øystein Øye, from off Norway. 

15 February 2006
Another Sperm Whale, Physeter catodon, was spotted near North Shore Road, Skegness (Lincolnshire) on the North Sea coast during the morning high tide. It was clear that it was dead after the tide receded. 

Head of the Sperm Whale on Skegness Beach
Photograph by Karla Ryder (Wymeswold)

The Natural History Museum took photos and limited samples of two dead Sperm Whales, Physeter catodon, in the Wash. Paul Jepson visited the one at Skegness, quite decomposed, a male, 14 metres in length. This means at least four Sperm Whales have been washed up on the East Anglian coast of Britain in February 2006.

BDMLR Forum Extra Information
Skegness Whale Report
Skegness Today
UK Cetnet (Yahoo Group)
BMLSS Cetacea

It is the tenth anniversary of the Sea Empress Tanker spillage at Milford Haven.
British Oil Spills

13 February 2006
Tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, was captured off the Asturias coast (Spain).
This is a large, western Atlantic, beautiful, silvery fish that reach up to 250 cm and weigh up to 161 kg. Reports from off the European coast are unusual. There are no further details of the capture. 

Report and Photograph by Juan Carlos 
on the defunct Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Smart Group

12 February 2006

Bass with a blunt head (Photograph by David Wilkinson)

Bass with a blunt head 
Photograph by David Wilkinson
(Technical Officer, Sea Fisheries, Commerce & Employment
Department, Guernsey)

This most extraordinary looking Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, was caught off the coast of Guernsey, tagged and returned to the sea. Its blunt head looks like that of the Pagrus Sea Bream and several other fish. This Bass weighed an estimated 4.5 kg. 

Report by David Wilkinson via Richard Lord (Guernsey)

4 February 2006
A ten metre long Sperm Whale, Physeter catodon, became stranded as the tide receded on the Humber estuary mud off Kilnsea, on Spurn Point, East Yorkshire. It was first spotted alive at about 10:00 am blowing in the shallow water. It quickly died as it was left clear of water on the low tide at 3:00 pm

UK Cetnet (Yahoo Group)
Organisation Cetacea
BMLSS Cetacea

2 February 2006
Over fifty Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, were bow riding our vessel with four Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, four miles south-west of Dodman Point (above Mevagissey), south Cornwall. 

30 January 2006
The Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, that visited Maryport Harbour, north-west England, was finally released into the open sea. A team led by British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) successfully captured the animal, assisted with a veterinary examination and then released the animal offshore, where it was joined by two other dolphins of the same species, before strongly swimming off to safety.
Report by Dave Jarvis on the Cornish Mailing List
(West Cornwall Co-ordinator, British Divers Marine Life Rescue)
First Report
BMLSS Cetacean Reports 2006

28 January 2006
Thousands of dead specimens of the Common Starfish, Asteria rubens, were washed up on the beach about a mile and a half to the north of Tywyn on the Cardigan Bay coast of north-west Wales.  There seem to be various interpretations of these mass strandings, including winter storms and changes in water temperature.

Report by Derek Williams

BMLSS Echinoderms

21 January 2006
A Boar Fish, Capros aper, is washed up alive on at Branksome Chine, Dorset (near Bournemouth). It was thrown back in the sea but it may get washed up again.

Boar Fish (Photograph by Robert Aquilina)

This attractive deep water fish is very occasionally washed up alive or found in rock pools and very occasionally caught by anglers. 

Report and Photograph by Robert Aquilina (Oxford Brookes University)
via Julie Hatcher (Secret Life at Low Tide)
and Doug Herdson (National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth
NB:  Although very tricky to keep and only recommended for advanced marine Aquarius's' these fish make fascinating aquarium fish. 
BMLSS Boar Fish
Wet Thumb (Marine Aquarium Study)

White-beaked DolphinA three metres long White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhyncus albirostris, was washed up dead on the north Scotland mainland coast, Caithness. It appeared as though it was a fishing capture and it had been gutted to make it sink. Pods of forty or so of these dolphins have been seen before off the Scottish coast.
The Gruesome Gallery

Whales & Dolphins in British Seas (by Steve Savage)
BMLSS Cetacea

A six metres long Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was spotted by the Amethyst fishing vessel heading in the direction of the Lizard off the south-west of Cornwall. This appears to be the a very early winter sighting and the first of the year.

BMLSS Basking Sharks

20-21 January 2006
A four tonne 5.8 metres long immature female Northern Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus, swam up to central London and was seen as far upstream as Lambeth Bridge, Westminster, (within sight of the Houses of Parliament). Three adult whales were spotted east of the Thames Barrier the day before and at 8:30 am a man on a train spotted a whale in the Thames out of the train window. Rescue attempts by British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and the authorities are being directed to persuading the whale to reverse direction and swim back out to sea and to avoid any further collisions with boats. This is the first time a whale had been seen so far upstream since records began in 1913

On the second day, the whale looked in a poor condition and showed no sign of returning to the open sea. A decision was taken (by the BDLMR and authorities) to make an improvised pontoon, crane the whale on to it and tow the unfortunate sea mammal back out to the Thames estuary. The prognosis was poor. The whale died at 7:00 pm.

BDMLR Report & Chronology
BDMLR Press Release

Tidal notes at London Bridge: High: 6 metres, Low: 1.3 metres (low about midday)

BDMLR News Releases on Forum
BMLSS Cetacean Reports 2006
UK Cetnet (Yahoo Group)
?  What to do if you find a stranded whale or dolphin  ?

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach you must send for help QUICKLY. A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not an animal can be returned to the sea alive.

0300 1234 999
0300 1234 999
0131 339 0111
0845 201 2626
01534 724331
00 44 1481 257261

British Divers Marine Life Rescue
01825  765546


16-17 January 2006
Twenty four egg cases of the endangered Skate, Dipturus (=Raja) batis, were  discovered on the Sandside shore near the Dounreay nuclear power plant, Caithness, west of Thurso and Scrabster Harbour and John o'Groats on the northernmost coast of mainland Scotland, the first records reported to the Shark Trust and the first records on the mainland Scotland since these egg case occurrences have been recorded. 

Egg Cases of the Common Skate

The egg cases measured between 23 to 28 cm long and 13 to 16 cm wide in a dried state and the first seventeen were discovered in a 15 minute along the beach.
When the egg cases are placed in water they expand in size.

Shark Trust Eggcase Hunt
Caithness Eggcase Walk

Report by Paula Gent with photographs by Davey Benson

Egg Capsules of Rays & Sharks (Link to the Web Pages)
BMLSS Mermaid's Purses
January 2005 Report

Egg Capsules of Rays and Sharks (Link)

BMLSS Shark & Ray News

16 January 2006
A bright orange Red Band Fish, Cepola rubescens, was discovered alive but in a moribund state in a rockpool on the shore of Pevensey Bay in East Sussex. This fish is rarely recorded as it lives in burrows in the sea bed offshore. This is one fish that has been discovered more often since we have been recording its occurrence and it seems quite widespread around the coasts of the British Isles. 

Report by John Cook

January 2006
Large growths of an invasive species of a didemnid ascidian (sea squirt) called Didemnum sp. may* have reached the east coast of Ireland.  It appears that large gelatinous growths of a didemnid are appearing practically all around the world and have now cropped up off the north European coasts as well as New Zealand and large parts of the United States of America. These colonial tunicates are regarded as a nuisance and one of many fouling organism species that attach to boat hulls, fishing gear, harbour wharves etc. 
Woods Hole Science Center Information

Liz Sides, from Duchas in Ireland says that one of her tunicate taxonomic friends has found what appears to be a large non-native Didemnum sp growing prolifically in a marina on the Irish east coast. (*The identification has not been confirmed yet.)

Report by Rohan Holt
 7 January 2006

The Snake Pipefish, Entelerus aequoreus, photographed at a depth of 25 metres in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isles near the wreck of the SMS Koln. There were three of these fish seen. 

  Report and Photographs by Kevin Wilson (Loganair Ltd)

NB: These pipefish have been caught by Puffins instead of their normal food of Sand-eels. The fish might be commoner this year, but more likely the Sand-eels populations have collapsed causing starvation amongst the Puffin chicks. 

BMLSS Pipefish

6 - 30 January 2006
A friendly Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, visited Maryport Harbour, Cumbria, on the Solway estuary in north-west England. Fishermen say the dolphin, nicknamed 'Marra', has been following them off Workington since summer and has always been on its own. Experts believe he may have followed fishing boats into the harbour. It has stayed around in the harbour for the month of January, but although it is feeding, there are fears that there is insufficient food of live fish in the harbour to sustain a large mammal. 

Sea Watch Foundation News
BMLSS Cetacea

Unfortunately, this dolphin was discovered dead on the beach at in Skinburness, Cumbria, on 20 December 2006.

1 January 2006
Ormers, Haliotis tuberculata, with a minimum shell length of 80 mm can be legally collected from the shores of Guernsey.

Not the specimen of the Ormer discovered

I discovered an Ormer of shell length 11.75 cm on 18 October 2005 on the
shore at La Valette on Guernsey's east coast - south of St. Peter Port. I wanted to find out if this Ormer was still under the same rock. I was not disappointed. This is the second time I have found an Ormer in the autumn which has remained under the same rock through to the New Year. I did not collect it but hope it survives the Ormer collecting season which continues during large spring tides until the end of April.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Rockpooling in Guernsey

Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas

The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum


Nature Notes Webring

Use these links if your are familiar with the scientific classifications of marine life

The BMLSS (England) site commenced on 1 January 1997

Shoreham-by-Sea Homepage Link

Andy Horton, Webmaster

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