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Marine Life of Sussex 2006

Wildlife Reports


20 December 2005
There was a seal seen off the beach at King Alfred's leisure Centre in Hove at 2.35 pm. Most local seal sightings are Common Seals, Phoca vitulina.

Hearsay Report (verified) by by Stephen Savage  (Sea Watch Foundation)
(Sussex County Recorder for Marine Mammals) 
on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group

6 December 2005
Thousands of Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, were seen amongst the weed six miles out in the fishing nets where Cod and Bass were caught. 

  Report by Peter Murphy

25 November 2005
A Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, is washed up intact but dead opposite the Norfolk Hotel near the derelict remains of the West Pier on Brighton beach.

Porpoise on the Dust Cart (Photograph by Dr Gerald Legg)
The carcass was taken away on a municipal refuge disposal van.  BMLSS Cetacea (Whales & Dolphins)

15 November 2005
A Common Seal, Phoca vitulina, swam up the tidal area of the River Ouse in East Sussex up a narrow winding river for three miles to Southease (south of Rodmell) which is a tidal stretch. (The Ouse is tidal as far as Barcombe Mills, north of Lewes.) 

Original Report to me by Adrienne Horrocks
Sussex Ouse Conservation Society

September 2005


Stuart Johnson (in the picture), and he caught a female Tope, Galeorhinus galeus, on rod and line (it took 15 minutes to land) eight miles off Brighton Marina, Sussex, in about 30 metres of water. It was weighed at 25 lb (about 11 kg) and the shark was tagged and returned to the sea alive and unharmed. Tope are unusual captures off the Sussex coast. 
BMLSS Sharks

6 September 2005
A marine leech, Pontobdella muricata, was identified at a fish merchants. The leech was approximately 130 mm in length, and was caught aboard a vessel fishing off the Sussex coast. The catch included numerous plaice and rays. The relative prevalency of this leech is not known at the time of writing but the experienced fishermen had never seen one before. 

3 August 2005
A few each of Mackerel, Garfish, Black Sea Bream and one small Gurnard were caught by anglers off the western arm of Shoreham Harbour. 

16 July 2005
A Bluefire Jellyfish, Cyanea lamarckii, was found in the shallows at Shoreham Beach. 

Bluefire Jellyfish (Photograph by Carole O'Connor)
Report and Photograph by Carole O'Connor

This species has not been recorded recently off the Sussex coast although it has been discovered in the shallow seas around the rest of Britain. It is one of the lesser known jellyfish that frequent the seas around the British Isles, although there have been more than the usual number of reports from other shores this year. 
BMLSS Jellyfish

4 June 2005. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Adur World Oceans Day
Venue: Coronation Green, New Shoreham
Adur Festival Event
Andy Horton with the Lobster in the tank (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) Clouds collect over Adur World Oceans Day 2005 on Coronation Green, Shoreham, keeping visitors inside the marquee out of the near gale force winds (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Despite the overcast day and the near gales that battered the marquee, Adur World Oceans Day 2005 was a success with live animal displays of lobsters, crabs, aquarium displays of sandy shore and rocky shore fauna, the simulated rock pool, marine life photographs (all by the British Marine Life Study Society), the dolphin exhibit (Sea Watch Foundation and helpers), the Sussex Coastal Watch Project (Dee Christensen), strandline touch tables (West Sussex County Council Rural Strategy Unit), vegetated shingle of Shoreham Beach and Widewater Lagoon (Dave and Marion Wood) and the table of the Sussex Ornithological Society (Audrey Wende, with the photograph of the Gull-billed Tern in company of a Black-headed Gull, taken by Stanley Allen of the Shoreham & District Ornithological Society.)
Katherine and Hanna presented a simulated rock pool (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) Simulated Rock Pool at Adur World Oceans Day 2005

The attendance was greater than last year as well and there was a continual stream of visitors for six hours. 
Shore Crab, Carcinus maenas, with its mate (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) Common Starfish with Bullhead

The exhibition was about the animals as well as people

British Marine Life Study Society: Len Nevell helped by Marc Abraham,  Priory
Emergency Treatment Service (PETS), Andy Horton, Peter Talbot-Elsden, Ray, Jan and Katherine Hamblett and Hannah Luff.
Sea Watch Foundation: Stephen Savage and his daughter Amber, with helpers including Marc Baldwin (independent).
WSCC Rural Strategy Unit: John Knight and Kathy Eels.
Administration assistance: Natalie Brahma-Pearl (Adur District Council and Adur Festival), Neil Mitchell (WSCC Rural Strategy Unit), David Steadman (Shoreham Town Partnership).

World Oceans Day web page
Adur World Oceans Day 2004 Image Portfolio (by Ray Hamblett)

13 June 2005
Hundreds of cuttlebones of the Common Cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, are washed up on the strandline along the shore as is normal in June when the adults die after spawning. In the shallow sea on a neap low tide, the push-net off Lancing Beach (off Golden Sands Caravan Park) failed to locate a single shrimp in over thirty minutes. The sand flats were barren except for an adult Weever, Echiichthys vipera, a soft recently moulted Spiny Spider Crab, Maja squinado, and one Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis.
BMLSS Crabs of the Seashore and Shallow Seas

5 May 2005
Shrimping (push-net in the shallows in the sea off Widewater) continued the poor results with so much weed, after the two days of strong breezes, that shrimping was severely hampered. Not a single Brown Shrimp, Crangon, was caught. A small Brill (a flatfish), Scophthalmus rhombus, was discovered floundering amongst the weed and an small Solenette that escaped the net, with a dozen of the South-clawed Hermit Crab, Diogenes pugilator, and one of the swimming crabs, the Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis.
Lancing Beach
BBC Buoy Table (Sea Temperatures, Wave Heights etc.)
Vernal Crab, 
Liocarcinus vernalis

2 May 2005
A Solenette, Buglossidium luteum, and a Plaice in the shrimp push-net off Southwick, but there were only ten Brown Shrimps on the low neaps. This is a very poor shrimping return for April or May. However, these two fish have not been knowing caught before whilst shrimping or rockpooling, so this was a successful outing.



29 April 2005
Just a dozen Brown Shrimps, a very poor total as the rollers pounded Southwick Beach on a low neap tide. A large Flounder (or Plaice?) and a Weever fish were also caught in the one and a half metre push-net.

Shrimping Report by Peter Talbot Elsden

25 April 2005
On the sea by Widewater, there were two Great Crested Grebes and two Sandwich Terns were flying over the sea and diving.

Report by Marion Page on Sussex Ornithological Society News

24 April 2005
Early morning shrimping at Southwick Beach was extremely poor with only 17 Brown Shrimps caught push-netting in two hours.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden

11 April 2005
A young Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, was caught in a fishing net a little over 10 km, 160°, off Hastings, East Sussex. The dead porpoise was picked up by the Sussex Sea Fisheries patrol boat and brought in to Shoreham then taken to the Booth Natural History Museum in Brighton. 

The sea mammal measured just under a metre long, weighed 18.5 kg and was a healthy female.

BMLSS Cetacea (Whales & Dolphins)

2 April 2005

Photograph by David Cropp

The shallow seas warmed up to 10° C at Selsey over the weekend, and plenty to see. A Lumpsucker Cyclopterus lumpus, plenty of Grey Sea Slugs, Peacock Worms, various nudibranchs and the Dahlia Anemones Urticina felina, all on a hours dive in 4.5 metres of water.

Report by David Cropp

21 March 2005
A Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, was stranded on Lancing Beach. The dolphin, which was attended by British Divers Marine Life Rescue, was still alive when washed ashore. I received a report from Trevor Weeks reporting on the outcome.
The dolphin was female about two metres in length and about 80% of its teeth were missing. The dolphin appeared badly emaciated and its breathing rate was 8 to 10 breaths a minute. Following advice from the vet, the decision was made that the dolphin was suffering and that an attempt to return it to the sea was not an option and euthanasia was the best course of action.

(Sussex County Recorder for Marine Mammals) 
on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
Full Report
BMLSS Cetacea

14 March 2005
A Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, is spotted six nautical miles south of Fairlight, East Sussex. 

17 February 2005
There was one Great-crested Grebe on the sea, and two male and two female Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea off Widewater (Lancing).

Report by Marion Page on Sussex Ornithological Society News

16 February 2005
A single Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, followed the wash of the Sea Fisheries Protection vessel in the Looe Channel south of Selsey Bill in East Sussex. Dolphins are only occasional sightings off the Sussex coast. 
Sussex Dolphins

Photograph     Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee

  Bottle-nosed Dolphin 
     Photograph © Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee

BMLSS Cetacea (Whales & Dolphins)

9 February 2005
There were several Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea off Widewater (Lancing) and Brooklands (east Worthing). I did not get a chance to count how many or get a closer look. This was a hearsay report from birdwatchers. Without my binoculars, I thought the first bird was a grebe

6 February 2005
I found a beautiful creature dead on Climping Beach (west of Littlehampton); it looked like a dolphin, but it did not have the long snout. The Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, was a blue/light grey in colour.  It was not damaged and looked as though it had only recently died. It was just under a metre in length. The condition of the Porpoise seemed perfect, not a mark on it, no damage at all. Just lying there, glistening on the beach, eyes open, mouth a tiny bit open. 

Report by Tricia Peters
Postscript:  The Natural History Museum post-mortem discovered that the dead Porpoise was extremely ill.  It died from nutritional deficiency and had secondary septicaemia as well as a heavy parasite load.  BMLSS Cetacea (Whales & Dolphins)
National Whale Stranding Recording Scheme
British Marine Life Study Society

Marine Life of Sussex 2004

Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee

Adur Coastal 2005

Adur Nature Notes 2005:   Index Page

Adur Valley
Adur Nature Notes 2005