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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For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below: 

Link to the News Reports, October to December 2008




18 December 2008
My trawler caught a Ray's Bream, Brama brama, at mouth of the River Thames. It measured 50 cm (20 in) long and weighed 1.65 kg. This fish was a new species for the River Thames. 

Report by Paul Gilson
Link to the Photograph by Leon Roskilly
Many more Ray's Bream Reports

11 October 2008
This unusual fish was caught at Abbotsbury on Chesil Beach, Dorset, on rod and line with a Pouting bait at 8.30 pm by Kevin Hill from Crediton

The yellow mouth of this Bass-like fish rather gives away its identity as the rare Meagre Drumfish, Argyrosomus regius. It is so rare in British seas that there are no angling records. It is a southern fish with a population in the Mediterranean and adjacent seas. This is a juvenile as meagre it is not and the name arose because of a transcription mistake in an old book.
Report by Steve Shimell
BMLSS Drumfish

Early September 2008
A rare deep water Sowerby's Beaked Whale, Mesoplodon bidens, was washed up dead at Periglis in the west of the island of St. Agnes in the Isles of Scilly , west of Cornwall. 
Just 400 meters away on the same beach, an infant Risso’s Dolphin, Grampus griseus, was also discovered.  BMLSS Cetaceans

3 July 2008

Broad-billed Swordfish (Photograph by Colin Smith)

Broad-billed Swordfish
Photograph by Colin Smith 
(Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales)

A Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius,was discovered washed up dead on Barry Island beach, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales.  It was carefully examined by Dr Peter Howlett, (Curator of Lower Vertebrates, National Museum, Wales) who confirmed the identification and found it to be a young specimen 2.24 metres long and between 60 and 80 kg in weight.  It had been dead only a few days, but it had been scavenged by other creatures and it was not possible to determine the cause of its death.

Full Report
BMLSS Swordfish Reports

1 July 2008

Snakelocks Anemone, east Worthing beach, Sussex

I was badly stung by a Snakelocks Anemone, Anemonia viridis, whilst swimming in an intertidal bathing pool at Dancing Ledge, Purbeck, Dorset.
Full Report
Stings from Snakelocks Anemones

Report and Sting Photograph by Rosie Sanders

29 June 2008
A huge Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus, was discovered and brought ashore by Paul Worsley diving in Lyme Bay, Dorset. It was estimated to be 300 mm wide across the carapace and a crab of this size would be the largest on record. (The largest recorded specimen known was 285 mm wide.) Its huge size can be verified by the photograph in the Western Morning News but unfortunately the crab was eaten before a tape measure could put on the shell and photographed to verify the crab as the largest on record.

26 June 2008
A huge Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus, was captured and brought to the surface from a plastic barrel on the seafloor at Balaclava Bay off Portland, Dorset. The male crab was not measured but estimated to be about 30 cm wide across the carapace. It was found a home in Weymouth Sea Life Centre. Both its massive claws were intact and bigger than my hands.

Capture and Report by Paul Martin
with the help of companion diver Mary Harris 
Dorset Echo Report
BMLSS Edible Crab

14 June 2008

Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
Admission: FREE
Adur was one of the UK leaders in presenting an environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea, as part of the Adur Festival.
8 June 2008
A Yarrell's Blenny, Chirolophis ascanii, was spotted by Shirley Sweeney in a rockpool near Kilberry on the north west coast of the Mull of Kintyre, west Scotland. This is the first report of this small fish on the shore from the BMLSS web pages. 
  BMLSS Yarrell's Blenny
Yarrell's Blenny (Photograph by Jamie)

9 June 2008
At least 26 Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, died after becoming stranded in Porth Creek up the Percuil River, Cornwall. (The Percuil River meets the Carrick Roads sea inlet near Falmouth.) These were just a small group of many more dolphins in the Carrick Roads around Falmouth. 

Whales & Dolphins in British Seas (Link)
BMLSS Cetacea

5 June 2008
In the early hours a large Stingray, Dasyatis pastinaca, was caught by an angler Ken Canning off the beach at Pagham Harbour, Sussex, and released back alive. It weighed between 65 lb and 72 lb; this should be a BR (R-C) FC record
“This magnificent fish which was probably around 72 lb as that’s what it weighed first time but it slipped of the sheet. When weighed second time it was still touching the floor but we were concerned with the health of the fish so settled on 65 lb 2 oz then returned it.” 

British Shore Caught Angling Records

3 March - May 2008 onwards

A Bearded Seal, Erignathus barbatus, was spotted at Loch na Keal on the Isle of Mull, a large island in the Inner Hebrides, western Scotland. The healthy seal had hauled itself up on to some dry rocks when it was first seen. Subsequently, it has been unpredictable in its movements. The Bearded Seal was first seen by David Woodhouse (Mull Wildlife Expeditions) on 3 March 2008.
Photograph by Rob Baxter
Report by David Sexton (RSPB, Mull)

May 2008
A surprising capture of a Pacific Humpback Salmon,Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, specimen caught by Louis Hunter in the River Tweed near Berwick-upon-Tweed on the English-Scottish border, is the first to be caught in a British river by rod and line, weighed, verified, and submitted to the British Records Fish Committee (BRFC). The committee has recorded it as a new species on its game list. The fish weighed 1.6 kg. 
 Its origins are likely to be the Barents Sea, where the Russians introduced thousands of Humpback Salmon 40 years ago as part of a large breeding programme.
Over the last 10 years some of these have successfully bred in rivers in Norway and Iceland. It appears they have begun to cross the North Sea to Britain, although there is no evidence yet to suggest they are breeding here. There has been anecdotal evidence of fishermen accidentally snaring them in trawler nets off the east coast.

11 May 2008
A female Deep-water Red Crab, Chaceon (=Geryon) affinis, was captured in deep water (300 metres) off the west off the Orkney Isles, north of Scotland. It survived a number of days in a boats vivier tank before being transferred to an aquarium. 

Red Crab (Photograph by Alan Jackson)

The Orkney fishermen call them "Red Crab" but they are not common.
Full Report
More Information

ID by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography

8 -9 May 2008
Guernsey recreational fisherman Andy Marquis discovered the pulmonate Celtic Sea Slug, Onchidella celtica, at St. Martins Point, Guernsey. (I have been looking for them for a decade without success!) 

Photograph by Richard Lord (fully copyrighted)

The following day my wife and I found 278 individuals in the Fucus spiralis zone on the vertical face of a rocky outcrop.

Full Report
Sealord Photography

3 March 2008
hexapus, or six-legged version of the Lesser or Curled Octopus, Eledone cirrhosa, was captured in a lobster pot off the coast of north Wales and put on show at the Anglesey Sea Zoo. It was only then it was discovered to have only six legs instead of the normal eight, and this may have a result of a birth defect rather than an accident. It was been claimed as a world's first as nobody seems to discovered one before. Its fame meant it was transferred to the Blackpool Sea Life Centre to attract a bigger audience. 

BMLSS Octopuses

28 January 2008 
Guernsey commercial fisherman Rick Ferbrache brought me a Red Sea Bream (=Blackspot Sea Bream), Pagellus bogaraveo, caught off Portinfer Bay on the north-west coast of Guernsey.  It weighed 454 grams and was 32.6 cm long (total length).

Red Sea Bream, Copyrighted Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Red Sea Bream were common in Guernsey waters until 1984 and then they disappeared.  During the last year or so they have been making a comeback to Guernsey waters.

Report and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography

BMLSS Sea Breams

21 January 2008

Timber from Greek-registered Ice Prince, which sank about 26 miles (42 km) off Dorset after a storm on 15 January 2008, began getting washed up on Lancing beach in the evening of 19 January 2008 and and tonnes of pine planks littered the Sussex beaches from 20 January 2008. The usual debris was on the strandline including the eggcase of an Undulate Ray, Raja undulata. It measured 67 mm long and 48 mm wide.
BMLSS Eggcases
Adur Coastal 2008

Dates Information by Jason Koen

3 January 2008
A rare Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, was washed up at Porth Ceiriad on the Llyn peninsula, north-west Wales. 
Kemp's Ridley Turtles are listed as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union, with only 35 records of the Kemp's Ridley species in UK and Irish waters. According to the Marine Conservation Society the latest estimates suggest that only a few thousand adult females still nest on only one stretch of beach on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. 

BMLSS Turtles

A Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, was washed up dead on the shore at Sheringham in Norfolk with a large 35 cm wound reminiscent of a predator attack. The jury is out on the cause of the wound which could be as a result of fishing activity. 

Report and Photograph on the Sun Newspaper Web Page
Discussion on the Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Yahoo Group

The previous week in Kent we had a dead seal turn up with large wounds on it. They were circular and about 50 mm in diameter.


British Marine Life News 2007

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