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NEWS 1999
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World Oceans Day 2001

British Marine Life Study Society
Marine Wildlife News 2001
(British Isles)

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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    31 December 2001
    A Common Sea Bream (=Couch's Sea Bream)Pagrus pagrus, was caught by angler Stephen Condick on the Quies off Newquay, Cornwall. It weighed in at 2.218 kg and is a new British record for this species. This southern species of fish has been reported on a few occasions this year and it is breeding off the Cornish coast (probably) and at least one specimen has been caught as far east as Hampshire. Hayling Island capture
    British Angling Records
    BMLSS Angling Records Page

    December 2001
    A specimen of the cushion-like (short stubby arms) starfish Hippasteria phrygiana was trawled up from the north east coast of England and brought into St. Abbs, Scotland. This is a northern Arctic species and only rarely reported from the Shetlands and off north west Scotland. there has been a report from St. Abb's before and this starfish is common at diving depths off the Norwegian coast in the winter. 

    Full Report

    31 December 2001
    Thousands of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, were discovered washed up dead on the shore at Formby, Merseyside, Lancashire. 

    Starfish Messages (1)  (2)(3)
    BMLSS Echinodermata

    26 December 2001
    As weather turns colder with nights below zero ° C, scores of dead Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, have been washed up dead on the Cornish coast.

    21 December 2001
    A Slipper Lobster, Scyllarus arctus, was caught in a lobster pot at a depth of about 60 metres about three miles south east of St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly , just before Christmas by Barry Bennett. Realising that it was an unusual and interesting find Barry put it in a display tank, which he maintains in the Harbour Master’s Office in St Mary’s.
    Scyllarus arctus is a warm waters species found in the Mediterranean, and in the Eastern Atlantic from Morocco to the English Channel but is rare north of the Bay of Biscay.  They live on stony ground, in caves, and can also be found on muddy bottoms or in seagrass beds.  They use the large spade-like scales at the front of the head to burrow into mud, sand or gravel between and under stones. Only 15 have been confirmed from British seas all from off Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly or off Plymouth.
    Full Report

    5 December 2001
    A Green TurtleChelonia mydas, was washed up dead at Blackpool, Lancashire. This is the first recorded Green Turtle from Irish Sea coasts. 
    Post Mortem Details

    BMLSS Turtles

    4 December 2001
    The carcass of a young 1.78 metre long female White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, was discovered on the small beach area west of Crovie, in the outer Moray Firth, north-east Scotland. The young dolphin showed signs of injury to its jaw consistent with being attacked. Although this species of dolphin is regularly seen off Stonehaven and Aberdeen, it has only been recorded once in the last five years in the outer Moray.

    CRRU White-beaked Dolphin Information
    BMLSS Cetacean Page

    1 December 2001
    A large 3.5 metre Pilot Whale, Globicephala melas, stranded on the Hannafore Beach at Looe, Cornwall, after first being discovered floating in the sea the day before.  This is just one of several reports of dead whales seen around Cornwall during the month of November.

    Report by Jon Makeham


    29 November 2001
    A Full Moon and spring tides, the second Full Moon in the month is known as a Blue Moon.

    Photographs by Phil Monckton, Western Morning NewsClick to enlarge (Photographs by Phil Monckton, Western Morning News)Photographs by Phil Monckton, Western Morning News
     26 November 2001
    A very unusual report of a Barracuda was received from Cornwall where net fisherman David Kessell captured one six miles off the Lizard peninsula. The streamlined tropical fish has not been recorded in British seas before. This one weighed about 4.2 kg gutted (9 lb) and it was about 106 cm (nearly 4 ft) long. This fish has been photographed by Phil Monckton (Western Morning News) and verified by Dr Paul Gainey. Allthe three species in the family Sphyraenidae found in the North East Atlantic and Mediterranean are southern species that are discovered only north to the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula and southern Bay of Biscay.

    When this specimen was examined at the Natural History Museum by Oliver Crimmen it was found that the edge of the operculum was naked (not covered in scales as it is in).  This, along with a few other features, showed the specimen to be Sphyraena viridensis, known as the Yellowmouth Barracuda. (Revision June 2003)
    Revised Details
    Full Report
    Full Report (CD-ROM only)

    25 November 2001
    A seal was seen off Brighton beach, Sussex in the English Channel. This is outside the normal range of all species of pinnipeds. It was swimming between Brighton's two piers heading east to west. The seal swam at the surface and dived on occasions and appeared to be in good health. They have been seen as occasional vagrants before, notably off Shoreham a few miles to the west.

    Report by Stephen Savage
    Sussex Regional Co-ordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation
    BMLSS Seal Page
    Seal Conservation Society
    Sussex Marine Life

    24 November 2001
    A  pod of 30 Harbour Porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, were seen 20 miles south of  Salcombe, south Devon.

    Photograph by Paul Parsons18 November 2001
    Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, in fine condition were discovered inhabiting part of the undersea chalk cliff face known as the Worthing Lumps, about 3 miles off the Sussex coast. About 15 adult fish were found, most of them inhabiting the rock crannies in the clear cold (12° C) water, but one fish ventured out into the open. Divers rarely have the opportunity to observe Triggerfish in the winter because of the inclement weather restricts the diving opportunities. 
    Excellent photographs and Triggerfish information page (link)
    Report by Paul Parsons

    17 November 2001
    Two specimens of the Straight-nosed Pipefish, Nerophis ophidion, were discovered on the south Cornish shore of Hannafore Beach, Looe on the low spring tides. These pipefish are resident large (12 cm) pipefishes around the southern coast of Britain, and are probably rarely recorded on a few shores rather than being a rare species of this small elongated fish.

    Report by Jon Makeham
    Full Report

    A Curled Octopus, Eledone cirrhosa, was discovered by Helen Nott on Heacham Beach, Norfolk, In this clear photograph (click on this text to see), you can see the single row of suckers. The Common Octopus has a double row.
    BMLSS Octopus page

    15 November 2001
    Stephen Summers, found an intact Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, washed up on Poltreath Beach in Cornwall.
    Link to the photograph and full report

    15 November 2001
    Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus,was discovered washed up dead on a beach in Skaill Bay, (HY 229 189) in the Orkney Isles. This whale is usually found in deep water.

    Report by Karen Bowler
    Prior Report in 2001
    BMLSS Cetacean Page
    Report Numbers for Stranded Cetaceans

    9 -14 November 2001
    Photograph by Dr Kevin P RobinsonLeatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacia, nearly 1.5 metres across was spotted close to the south Alloa jetty 30 miles up the Firth of Forth, the major inlet on the east coast of central Scotland. A search was conducted for the turtle to rescue it in case it became trapped. However, in the vast expanse of the estuary the turtle could not be located easily and it was 14 November 2001 before it was discovered and photographed after an extensive and systematic search in small boats.

    Full Report on BMLSS Turtles
    CRRU Report
    British Marine Turtle Stranding Network

    5 November 2001
    The first Snowy Egret, Egretta thula, recorded in Britain is seen and photographed at Balvicar, Argyll & Bute, and then in the following months seen over a wide area of the west of Scotland. This bird normally inhabits the tidal mud flats of North and South America  where it hunts for small fish and shrimps in large groups. 
    BMLSS Sea Birds

    1 November 2001
    There have been further reports of Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, from around the Channel Islands. Fisherman Steve Ryall hauled them up in his nets together with Lumpsuckers and large Soles over 3 kg in weight. The Seahorses were returned alive. Lobster and crab fisherman Andy Egre reports catching two large Seahorses in his pots about a mile and a half off Rozel in 30 metres of water in an area of strong tides.

    BMLSS Seahorse page

    31 October to 4 November 2001
    The beam trawler F.V. Admiral Gordon, fishing out of Plymouth, reports seeing large numbers of Pilot Whales, Globicephala melas, for the first time about 12 miles South of Start Point, South Devon.  They estimate over 50 whales and report that they were also picking up a lot of midwater markers (on the echo sounder) which may have been herring.

    31 October 2001
    Fisherman Steve Long caught a Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris, off the Cornish coast off Coverack in deepish water at about 75 metres (40 fathoms). This warm water octopus is now only rarely discovered in the English Channel, although within just about living memory it was commoner. This species was identified by Paul Gainey, but hauling it up from the depths damaged the specimen which did not survive its ordeal. 

    BMLSS Octopus Page
    CephBase Octopus vulgaris

    29 October 2001
    Pistol Shrimp, Alpheus macrocheles, was discovered by fisherman Timmy Bailey in Falmouth Bay, Cornwall, and identified by marine biologist Paul Gainey. This is one of a few small shrimps that can produce a rather alarming cracking noise with their claws. It was bright orange in colour. Exactly how rare they are in British seas is unclear because they are small, up to 43 mm only, and are only rarely reported. (There are two other species Alpheus glaber and Alpheus ruber.) The Pistol Shrimp found a home at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

    Report by Stella Turk via the Cornish Wildlife Mailing List
    Information verified with Matt Slater at the Blue Reef Aquarium
    BMLSS Crustacea Page

    25 October 2001
    The Grimsby Evening Telegraph reported a 3 metre long (including the sword) Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, discovered by Ian and Graham Royle washed up dead on Chapel St. Leonards beach, Lincolnshire on the east coast of England. This is usually an oceanic fish with just a few reports in British seas, one or two sightings in the English Channel of this fast swimming fish jumping out of the sea, and one report of a fish washed on the west coast of Scotland.

    BMLSS Swordfish page

    23 October 2001
    A 10 metres long Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was washed up alive on the north-east side of Trondra (opposite Scalloway Harbour) in the Shetland Isles. The whale managed to refloat itself the following day, but as often happens with these strandings the whale beached itself again in the original location. 

    Shetland Wildlife Records 2001

    21 October 2001
    The capture by angler Peter Godden of a fish called the Blue Runner, Caranx crysos, was an amazing occurrence of an Atlantic tropical (including the Caribbean) and Mediterranean sea fish off Walmer Beach, Deal, Kent, that speculation can only occur how did this fish arrive so far out of its normal range? It weighed in at 175 grams and is very small and is a new British record. Adults can attain a weight of nearly 4 kg. 

    British Angling Mini Records
    Fishbase Entry

    17 October 2001
    Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus with a reported weight of 435 kg (960 lb) is caught on road and line by Adrian Molloy of Kilcar, off Donegal, Ireland. The angler claims this as the largest fish caught around the British Isles, exceeding the giant fish of 386 kg (851 lb) caught from a Whitby boat in 1933 when Tuna were a regular catch in the North Sea.

    Information from Richard Lord (Guernsey) from the Daily Mail 
    BMLSS Tunny page

    13 October 2001
    Wreckfish was caught by angler Patrick Banks from a mid channel wreck SSW of Poole Harbour, Dorset. This fish is a rare visitor to the south western shores of the British Isles. It weighed in at 5.407 kg and is a new British angling record.

    Wreckfish (Photograph by Andy Horton)

    Wreckfish in the old MBA Public Aquarium at Plymouth (different fish)

    BMLSS Angling Records Page

    10 October 2001
    "Seahenge", the important Bronze Age Timber Circle that was recovered from the seashore at Holme, Norfolk, is to be saved and conserved for future generations. The conservation programme, fully funded by English Heritage, will take place at the Flag Fen archaeological centre near Peterborough. The "Seahenge" timbers have been precisely dated to spring 2050 BC and 2049 BC using pioneering dating techniques.

    Extract from the BRITARCH Mailing List
    Woodhenge Site (with an excellent photograph and lots of information)

    8 October 2001
    Pandora Bream, Pagellus erythrinus, was caught by angler Phillip Jewell in the River Helford estuary, Cornwall. This is one of the rarer summer visitor sea breams (Family: Sparidae) to the English Channel. This was a new British angling record and the fish weighed in at 692 grams.


    28 September 2001
    A 14 metre long female Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis, was washed up alive at Cockerham Sands, Lancashire on 28 September but quickly died. It was then washed out to sea again and it then drifted northwards across the Morecambe Bay to Chapel Island, Ulverston. The decomposing carcass drifted to Greenodd Sands where it was photographed by Andy Harmer on 13 October 2001.  The Sei is a deep sea whale and records of strandings are rare. 

    Detailed Report by Simon Hayhow (Fleetwood Museum
Sei Whale washed on the Cumbrian coast (Photograph by Andy Harmer)
    Initial Report and Photograph by Andy Harmer via UK Wildlife
    Pictures by Andy Harmer (link)
    BMLSS Cetacean Page
    Previous Sighting

    27 September 2001
    A commercial fisherman, Rick Ferbrache, caught a 63 mm (2.5 inch) long brown Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus,  in a parlour crab pot while fishing 1.5 miles north west of Pembroke off Guernsey's north coast.

    Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
    BMLSS Seahorse page

    After five years of extensive summer survey work for marine mammals in the Moray Firth off the east coast of Scotland, we discovered a pod of seven Risso's Dolphins, Grampus griseus, including a mother and calf, in the outer southern Moray Firth. This species is not attracted, to boats but it is also not one of the five commonest dolphins seen around the British Isles. It is rather a rare discovery in British seas.

    BMLSS Cetacean Page
    Cetacean List (NE Atlantic)

    24 September, 2001
    100+ Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, seen chasing a shoal of Mackerel one mile off St. Martin's Point, Guernsey, during the evening. Calves were present and sounds were heard. Observers even managed to touch one or two of the dolphins. Some estimates said there were 30 pods of about 10 dolphins in each pod, so could be as many as 300.

    Report by Martin Gavet
    Channel Islands Dolphins
    BMLSS Cetaceans

    15 September 2001
    Five Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus are washed ashore on the Belgian coast. These crabs are rarely recorded pelagic life with British records only from the extreme west coasts, with the only Cornish records of the crab coming from the 19th century. 
    Planes minutus is also called the Gulf-weed Crab because the largest population of this abundant crab is believed to inhabit the open Atlantic Ocean area known as the Sargasso Sea. These crabs are also found on the east coast of America. This crab is also known as an epibiont of the Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta.

    More Information (Strandwerkgroep)
    BMLSS Crustacea Page

    12 September 2001
    A new series on BBC ONE
    from Wednesday, September 12 at 9.00 pm 
    Narrated by David Attenborough
    From the BBC Natural History Unit, The Blue Planet is the definitive exploration of the Earth's final frontier - from the deep to the shore, from pole to pole. The eight 50 minute programmes will transport you around the globe revealing extraordinary life and behaviour that has never before been filmed. In some cases these have only recently been known to scientists. 

    Programme 1 - Introduction
    "Our planet is a blue planet," says David Attenborough. "Over 70 per cent of it is covered by the sea and the Pacific Ocean alone covers half the globe." The oceans dominate the world's weather systems, and support an enormous variety of life, from the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth, the blue whale, to the tiniest plankton."
    BBC Blue Planet Page
    Television Programmes in the series (BBC)

    c. 20 September 2001
    There have been several reports of unusual Sea Breams (family: Sparidae) from around the Channel Islands. Shore angler Kevin Frain caught a Gilthead Bream, Sparus aurata, and there was a report of  a White Sea Bream, Diplodus sargus, from St. Helier Marina, Jersey. Neither of these catches have been verified by an expert or confirmed by a photograph but they are likely to be accurate. 

    14 September 2001
    A large (38 kg) and beautiful fish called the Opah, Lampris guttatus, was landed by a commercial fisherman (MFV Seagull out of Srabster) trawling for cod and ling at a depth of 250 metres west of the Shetland Isles. This is an epipelagic fish, which it inhabits the surface waters off the Continental Shelf. This means that accidental catches and strandings of this fish are rare by British fishermen or washed up on remote shores. There has even been records of this fish caught by anglers up to 58 kg. This fish has been recorded to depths of 400 metres. 

    Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

    4 September 2001

Bottle-nosed Whale at Mull (Photograph by Davy Holt)
    A four metres long Northern Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus, was discovered washed dead by a a local fish farm employee on the shore near Secastle Bay on the Isle of Mull side of the Sound of Mull off the west coast of Scotland. The post-mortem revealed that the stomach was full of squid beaks.  More Photographs
    BMLSS Cetacean Page
    Cetacean List (NE Atlantic)
    Monitoring Marine Mammals in the Atlantic Margin

    Summer 2001
    A remarkable explosion of the nudibranch (sea slug) Geitodoris planata has occurred in the Oosterschelde Bay, in the southwest of the Netherlands. The first specimen recorded from the Netherlands was found in June 1999. By July 2001 it is not unusual to find more than 30 adult specimen and over 70 egg ribbons on a single dive. Furthermore they are all of a extraordinary size of up to 12 cm. in length. Bernard Picton reports 65 mm. as a maximum size!. They are only found in this single bay and nowhere else at the Dutch coast. This species will not be listed in popular books and is not even to be found in specialised synopses.
    Geitodoris planata is often confused with the Sea Lemon, Archidoris pseudoargus.

    Full Report on the Sea Slug Forum
    BMLSS Sea Slugs

    31 August 2001
    One Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae,  is seen from the Fair Isle (the small island between the Orkneys and the Shetland Isles), blowing and fluking, with 12 White-beaked Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus albirostris. Humpback Whales are reported in the seas just south of the Shetlands every summer.

    Year 2000 Report
    BMLSS Cetacean Page including a Humpback in Cornwall
    Humpback Whales (Shetland Isles) 2000

    28 August 2001
    William Cooper of the Kaspia restaurant in London's Mayfair received a European Lobster, Homarus gammarus, 96 cm long in the normal delivery from Cornwall. Because of its exceptional size it was presented to London Aquarium. This is one of the largest lobsters ever caught. We have one record of a specimen 126 cm long, but even the very large ones that are occasionally caught are usually less than 1 metre in length. It weighed over 6 kg (about 14 lb).
    On 18 October 2001, this Lobster called "Barney" was released into the Plymouth Sound Marine Conservation Area.
    Specimen Lobsters

    Triggerfish (Photograph by Russel Parker)

    19 August 2001
    Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, was discovered in the sea to the north of the island Muck (Sound of Eigg) off the west coast of Scotland (north of Ardnamurchan, south of Rum, south of Skye). This fish was reported by skipper Andy Tibbets, seen by a diver on Godag Reef at a depth of 20 metres. This was the first one he has ever caught this far north, although another one was reported from the same area a few years ago. 

    Report by Jim Anderson
    Triggerfish are also being brought in by fishermen in a variety of pots and fishing methods from around the Channel Islands as is usual at this time of the year.
    Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
    BMLSS Triggerfish Database file

    30 July 2001
    Ringed Seal, Phoca hispida, was discovered at Cullivoe (Yell) in the Shetland Isles. It is only the second record for Shetland of this Arctic species. The only other definite record was one shot on Whalsay in 1968 (Berry & Johnston 1980). This species looks similar to the Common Seal, Phoca vitulina, and has probably been overlooked before, although they are still rare in British seas.  Their main distribution areas are the Arctic coasts of Europe, the USSR, Canada and Alaska, including Nova Zemlya, Spitsbergen, Greenland and Baffin Island. The Baltic population is the subspecies Phoca hispida botnica.

    Report by Shetland Wildlife News
    including a photograph.
    BMLSS Seals page
    Shetlands Seal Page
    Ringed Seals Information
    Shetland Wildlife Records 2001

    29 July 2001
    A Hooded Seal, Cystophora cristata, was washed on a Little Haven beach, Pembrokeshire, south west Wales and found a home at the Seal Hospital at Milford Haven. The seal was healthy apart from a small cut on one flipper. The Hooded Seal spends most of its life on the Arctic pack ice and discoveries off the coast of Scotland, including the Orkney and Shetland Isles are rare. It moults around Greenland and the Denmark Strait (between Iceland and Greenland) with regular sightings now being reported from the seas north of the Shetland Isles.

    Report by Tony Pearce (via UK Wildlife)
    Hooded Seal 1999
    Hooded Seal Information
    Seal Conservation Society
    Seals Page
    Monitoring Marine Mammals in the Atlantic Margin

    29 July 2001
    There were a considerable number of Compass Jellyfish, Chrysaora hysoscella, off Hallsands Beach, south Devon. I counted well over a hundred. There was also a small (25 cm across) Cyanea which was bright blue, it could have been Cyanea lamarcki due to its size, colour and lack of sting (I brushed past it whilst swimming).

    Report by Chris Davis (Devon WWT)
    Richard Lord also reported the Compass Jellyfish  from L'Ancresse Beach, on the north coast of Guernsey.
    Original Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group Report (Link)
    Compass Jellyfish were reported by Paul Tyler from around St. Kilda (Outer Hebrides) this year. 
    Paul Tyler Reports from St. Kilda, of String Jelly, Salps, Cotton-spinner (sea cucumber) Holothuria forskali, and the starfish Stichastrella rosea.

    23 July 2001
    Unidentified Shark
    Two divers, one of them a commercial fisherman, came across an unrecognised shark lying stationary on the bottom near Alderney in the Channel Islands. It was over a metre long and it was not any of the common shark species normally found around the islands. They looked in the book and came up with unlikely match of the Nurse Shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum. They said the shark remained motionless on the bottom. The body appeared dark grey with no markings.
    This tropical species has never been recorded in British seas although Gerald Jennings (Calypso Publications) reports a record from Portugal.

    Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
    More Details
    Full Report 

    Humpback Whale (Photograph by the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit)24 July 2001
    In the evening whilst on a routine Minke Whale survey along the southern Moray Firth, biologists from the Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit had a truly amazing experience when they encountered an 11.5 metre long adult Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, just three miles from the coastline of the outer firth.
    Humpbacks are rare visitors to British waters. There has only been on rare stranding report this year. Humpbacks are a deep water whale.
    The Humpback Whale was seen again by the research team in relatively shallow water on 11 August 2001. 

    Full Report by the Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit
    Orkney Isles Report 2001
    BMLSS Cetacean Page including a Humpback in Cornwall
    Humpback Whales (Shetland Isles) 2000

    23 July 2001
    Beaches along a twelve-mile stretch of rocky Welsh coastline near Holyhead on the island of Anglesey in North Wales were covered with "dumpling like" globules of the white and brown gunk, identified as non-toxic vegetable oil. 
    Full Story

    19 July 2001
    Numerous Sunfish, Mola mola, (pic) were seen off the coast of Cornwall as is usual during the summer months. One was discovered in the Hayle river estuary near St. Ives where it was reported breaching in a large rock pool. On 13 July 2001, nine Sunfish were seen off Pentire Head, Cornwall (SW 936814) between Rumps and Mouls.

    Report by Ray Dennis.
    BMLSS Sunfish pages

    18 July 2001
    A large (15 kg) Stingray, Dasyatis pastinaca, caught off Helford, Cornwall was landed at Newlyn. A small (15 cm) Marbled Electric Ray, Torpedo marmorata was caught in a crab pot off Freathy, Whitsand Bay, south-east Cornwall. Both fish are quite rare for the south-west.

    Portuguese Man-o'War, Physalia physalis, were sufficiently numerous off Bordeaux, north-east coast of Guernsey, Channel Islands for the Police to publish a warning to bathers.

    15 July 2001
    An Oceanic Pufferfish, Lagocephalus lagocephalus, was discovered washed up on the surfline by a holidaymaker on Towan beach, near Newquay, on the north coast of Cornwall. At first the fish that was over 30 cm long seemed to be dead, but it recovered after being placed in a rockpool, and was eventually taken in a plastic shopping bag to the Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay where it quickly recovered, and began swimming around with rays and other fish in a large display tank. 
    This was a very unusual discovery in British seas. The last confirmed discovery was in 1973, but there have been a few unconfirmed reports since then. It is a worldwide pelagic species in all the warmer oceans, and inhabiting the open Atlantic and rarely comes inshore. 
    The Pufferfish is named from its ability to inflate into a large ball when threatened.

    Report by Drew Cunliffe
    11 July 2001
    A young (1.5 metre long) Thresher Shark found at Gunwalloe Fish Cove, on the Lizard, Cornwall  has been confirmed as a Bigeye Thresher Shark, Alopias superciliosus.  This is the first record of this species from shallow British waters. Previous Record from the Porcupine Bight

    6 July 2001
    Sixty Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were observed by Craig King from a fishing boat three miles south of Portland Bill, Dorset at around 10.00 am.  The large group included calves and may have been chasing mackerel.  Several animals came in to ride the bow wave.  A Thresher Shark, Alopias vulpinus, was also seen rounding up smaller fish ten miles offshore of Portland.

    Report from Dylan Walker (UKCetnet)
    Jellyfish, Cyanea, off the Kent coast

    26 June 2001
    Hundreds of jellyfish were seen off Sandgate, Kent. They were about 12 cm in diameter but have not yet been positively identified. This could be the uncommon species Cyanea lamarckii. 

    Report and photograph by Philip Saunders

    24 June 2001
    The London TV news reported the presence of an adult Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, in the Thames near the Tate Modern Gallery. From the film footage the dolphin appears reasonably 'fit' at the moment and quite active. It was over 3 metres (11 ft) long. 

    Report by Paul Gosling
    Unfortunately, on 7 July 2001, the dolphin was found dead and this was the fate of a  previous porpoise spotted in the Thames by the Houses of Parliament. The post mortem indicated that the dolphin was an old female with only three teeth and had reached the end of her natural life span. 
    Second report by Liz Sandeman (Marine Connection)
    A pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins were reported off the Palace Pier, Brighton, Sussex. Dolphins off Sussex are not seen every year.

    June 2001
    OCEAN Guides
    Whales & Dolphins of the European Atlantic
    The Bay of Biscay and the English Channel
    by Graeme Cresswell & Dylan Walker
    and Rob Still & Phil Coles (artwork)
    and individual photographers
    Edited by Andy Swash
    Published by Wild Guides
    ISBN 1-903657-00-8

    This is the best and handiest small guide, and probably better than any of the larger guides for identifying the cetaceans at sea.    Andy Horton

    ORCA   Organisation Cetacea
    Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society
    BMLSS New Publications Page
    BMLSS Cetaceans
    Marine Mammals of the English Channel Smart Group

    21 June 2001
    Seaquest recorder Barry Moreton has reported  a record number of the Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola, off Pentire Headland (east side of the Camel Estuary), Cornwall. Within about 8 hours, whilst he was fishing from land, he counted 48 in groups of two or three,  Douglas Herdson of the National Marine Aquarium, who is compiling records of this species for the whole of the British isles, says that 15  is the largest grouping of which he knows.

    Sunfish from the Isle of Wight (Photograph by Dale Edmunds)

    Coincidentally Terry Hocking who has been keeping careful notes of seal activity off the North Cliffs, has just given his notes to Cornwall Wildlife Trust together with observations on Sunfish.  He has noticed that gulls - seemingly always immature Herring Gulls  - frequently gather around  them.  If the gulls attentions are too insistent, the Sunfish will lunge at them, squirting water from its mouth! - and he has a video to prove it.  I can find no mention of this in the literature or on the World Wide Web (Internet) - indeed  in general there seem to be more questions than answers at present, although it seems certain that the Ocean Sunfish is becoming more frequent and extending its range in British waters.. 

    Sunfish (BMLSS)
    Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)
    National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

    18 June 2001
    A small shoal of juvenile first year Pollack, Pollachius pollachius, came as a great surprise to me on a mussel collecting expedition at Kingston beach, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex (Adur estuary) In well over a thousand observations I have never seen shoals of these fry before. The mid-water shoals are usually Sand Smelt Atherina presbyter; Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax; or Grey Mullet, Chelon labrosus. Pollack shoals are are a characteristic of Cornish and Devon estuaries.

    17 June 2001
    An angler caught a Common Sea Bream, Pagrus pagrus (=Sparus), out of Hayling Island. It is only called common because it is common in the Mediterranean Sea and south of the British Isles. 

    Photograph by Chris Everson (Worthing)

    It was previously rare in the English Channel and unknown any further north. However, in the last two years a shoal of juveniles have been discovered in a Cornish bay and large numbers have been caught around the Channel Islands. This is the first record received of a fish as far east as off Hampshire. 

    Photograph and Report by Chris Everson (Worthing)

    Front page of the West Sussex Gazette   7 June 20018, 9, 10 June 2001
    World Oceans Day events at Plymouth, Helston, Swansea, Moray Firth, Flamborough Head etc. 

    8 June 2001
    World Oceans Day

    6 June 2001
    Three large baleen  Whales were spotted for about 30 minutes blowing well offshore from Cork, Ireland and swimming west along the coast. These were possibly the same Fin Whales the Air-Corp observed two days earlier.
    BMLSS Cetacean Page

    5 June - 28 July 2001
    Three Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, were observed around the mouth of Cork Harbour, Ireland. The group comprises one very impressive bull with an equally impressive dorsal fin and two smaller adults, presumably females, although some observers have mentioned a fourth animal.
    Full Reports on Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
    See UK CetNet for even more reports

    2 June 2001
    A mantis shrimp, Rissoides desmaresti, has been found in Lyme Bay.  The specimen was captured by a local fishermen in a trawl net. The specimen was around 85 mm and was captured with a good haul of cod which were feeding upon the mantis shrimps. 

    2 June 2001
    A pair of Mute Swans with six furry cygnets greeted the workers setting up at the stalls for Adur World Oceans Day, but as the neap tide ebbed they had disappeared before the start of the event. 

    Adur World Oceans Day 2001 Latest Pictures

    Adur World Oceans Day Picture Portfolio

    World Oceans Day Smart Group

    Photograph by Natalie Brahma-Pearl (top) and Ray Hamblett (bottom)

    The day was overcast with brief periods of sun through gaps in the clouds and short periods of torrential rain that sent people diving for cover in the marquee.


    27 May 2001
    Despite the rough weather, a Sunfish was spotted by anglers on a boat about half an hour out from Lyme Regis, Dorset, and reported by Tom Parker.

    24 May 2001
    Large plankton blooms are prominent on both sides of the English Channel and at least as far west as Dorset.

    Phaeocystis is a minute organism which can reproduce in enormous numbers, and is an example of the phytoplankton. Phaeocystis 'blooms' are called by names like Slurry Water and Baccy Juice, and are an annual occurrence off the Sussex and Kent coasts in May and June. Blooms are also found of other coasts including the coast of Cornwall. The Sussex species is Phaeocystis pouchetti.
    Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group

    Off Ramsgate, Kent, the blooms of phytoplankton were followed by large swarms of colourful jellyfish.    Report by Keith Parsons

    20 May 2001
    Benty and a group of seven Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, including a calf, and swam with canoeists for a whole day in 10 metres of water, chasing sand-eels opposite South Sands and out to Bolt Tail, Salcombe, south Devon.

    Report by Joan Edwards (Marine Programme, Wildlife Trusts)
    BMLSS Cetacean Page

    17 May 2001
    Fishermen Peter Gay and Peter Drelaud caught a red Lobster, Homarus gammarus, off the south east of Jersey, in April. Fisherman Ian Stewart who caught one in 1971 (this may have come from the English Channel N.J.) said that he understood the last locally recorded case was 1920. The Lobster was sold to an aquarium at St. Malo, France.

    Report by Nicolas Jouault

    15 May 2001
    Basking Sharks have been seen in appreciable numbers off the south Devon coast. Ten sharks were seen feeding just outside the mouth of the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary.

    Report from Nigel Mortimer 
    Earlier in the month there have been reports of up to 24 Basking Sharks of Start Point.
    Report from Jenny Glanville

    6 May 2001
    A pod of six Risso's Dolphins, Grampus griseus, (5 adults, 1 juv) were seen by Jonathan Wills in Vassa Voe, South Nesting, in the Shetland Isles, swimming very slowly around the inner part of the voe, mostly in water less than 5 metres deep, keeping close together and possibly supporting/nursing/comforting one of the party which appeared to have an injured dorsal fin.

    Shetland Wildlife Records 2001

    20 April 2001
    Jon Tonkin from Cadgwith on the Lizard peninsula caught a Sturgeon, Acipenser sturio,  whilst netting for Monkfish and Turbot. It was 2 metres long  and weighed 46 kg (101 lb). It was eventually served up in a Bath restaurant. Records of Sturgeon are very rare and the fish must be heading for extinction in the NE Atlantic as there are very few breeding areas left. 

    Report by Alan Knight

    April 2001
    A scallop fisherman (dredger) picked up 3 Pen Shells or Fan Mussels in his dredge worked of the Channel Islands.  One of them is at the Guernsey Aquarium.  I had a look yesterday through the glass and I think it is Atrina fragilis.

    Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

    4 April 2001
    Thousands of tonnes of the 65 metres high chalk cliff at Beachy Head, East Sussex, collapsed into the sea, including the complete stack known as Devil's Chimney. After  the persistent rain with hardly a dry day since September 2000 a collapse was likely, and if the water inside the chalk had frozen and expanded, a much greater fall could have occurred.

    2 April 2001
    Seahorse (Photograph by Robert Jones)A Swanage lobster fisherman has just caught his second Seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus (=H. ramulosus), this week - the first was smooth, the second very fluffy! Seahorses have been reported from Weymouth Bay and the Fleet in Dorset and there are anecdotal reports of seahorses from Studland eelgrass beds, but about 20 years ago.

    BMLSS Seahorse Page

    1 March 2001
    After a long delay the year 2000 Millennium issue of Glaucus is finally sent to British Marine Life Study Society members. 

    20 March 2001
    A male juvenile Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, became stranded in Sandwich Bay, just north of Dover, Kent. The animal was alive when it stranded, and estimated to weigh over 20 tonnes with a length of 11 metres (35 ft). Unfortunately, the animal was in poor condition and could not be saved. The southern North Sea is a very unusual area to find such a large whale.

    Report by the Marine Connection
    Link to a photograph of the stranded whale
    More Information on UK Cetnet
    BMLSS Cetacean Page
    Report Numbers for Stranded Cetaceans

    The Glaucus 2000 CD-ROM is sent to 
    British Marine Life Study Society Premier members

    13 March 2001
    A young Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was discovered at Holywell Bay near Newquay, Cornwall, and is now being cared for at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

    Report by Vince Smith, Manager of the Cornish Wildlife Mailing List
    BMLSS Turtle page

    27 February 2001Humpback Whale (Illustration by Jane Lilley)
    A group of 3 or 4 Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, were seen in Echna Bay, Burray, Scapa Flow, Orkney.

    18 February 2001
    A Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was seen at the Roches Douvres, near Jersey in the Channel Islands. It was over 6 metres (20 ft) long. In summer they would not warrant a special report, but English Channel sightings in winter are uncommon.

    Reported by S. Arthurs, via Nicolas Jouault

    February 2001
    Every year scores of dolphins are washed up dead on the shores of Cornwall and Devon.
    Jon Makeham (Looe) has sent a report to the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group from information in the Cornish Times. 
    Dolphin Report

    14 February 2001
    A huge Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, was caught in a trawl west of Guernsey. Its weight of 9.52 kg (21 lb 4 oz) would have exceeded the world angling record if it had been caught on rod and line. 

    Report by from Andrew Syvret via Nicolas Jouault
    Angling Records

    For the first time for many years a good haul of the Brown Shimp, Crangon crangon, was reported from the shallow seas off Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. Gallons of shrimps were collected in a push net at low tide. No Weevers were netted.

    Report by Peter Murphy (Shoreham)

    12 February 2001
    A male Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was washed ashore in a badly decomposed state at Vault Beach, Gorran Haven, St Austell, Cornwall.  It was about 12 metres long. It is only the third on record washed up on the Cornish coast. 

    A Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, was reported of Portgwarra, Cornwall. 

    12 February 2001
    Two badly decomposed Dolphins were washed up on Shoreham Beach, Sussex. They were badly decomposed but were probably Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis. A Porpoise, just over a metre long, was washed at nearby Worthing
    Sussex Dolphins
    Sussex Cetaceans 2001
    Sussex Sea Watch Foundation News 2001

    9 February 2001
    A Bogue, Boops boops, a fish weighing 491 grams was caught in a gill net off Herm Island near Guernsey. These fish, a member of the Sea bream family Sparidae, are reasonably common around the Channel Islands, but are much rarer further north.

    Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

    6 February 2001
    Dolphin calf is reported from Durlston Bay, Dorset. 
    Durlston Marine Project has records of Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, sightings around Swanage based on regular watches over the past seven or more years. There appears to be more reports in the winter, with little activity over the summer months.  There have been regular sightings of five recognisable dolphins over this period, with a couple of newcomers in  recent years.
    I photographed a group of 14 dolphins off Swanage in mid-January - including a very young calf.  One of the group was "Benty" - a very recognisable individual with a bent-over dorsal fin, known from Cornwall and known to have visited Dorset the previous year.
    Young dolphins are almost unknown from the English Channel. 

    Report by Peter Tinsley

    3 February 2001
    The sea anemone Diadumene cincta has been identified and photographed by Paul Parsons off Worthing, West Sussex at a depth of 3 metres. It is a small sea anemone that has probably overlooked before or incorrectly identified.

    Diadumene cincta  (Photographs by Paul Parsons)

    More Photographs

    31 January 2001
    Small Couch's Sea BreamPagrus pagrus, have been numerous around Guernsey so far this year. The Guernsey Fishermen's Trading Company says they have seen dozens. .  One fisherman operating a small trawler / potter landed to a retailer 16 all weighing about 340 grams (12 oz) each. The neighbouring retailer in the Town Market had 6 small Couch's Sea Bream delivered.

    Pagrus pagrus from a Cornish bay 2000 (Photograph by Steve Matchett, National Aquarium, Plymouth)

    Couch's Sea Bream, also called the Common Sea Bream, reach their most northerly point of distribution in the English Channel and are not regularly recorded, although year 2000 was graced with quite a number of reports of sea bream from more southerly seas. 

    Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

    28 January 2001
    Jean Lawman and others spotted a large 8-10 metre long Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, off Porthcurno, Cornwall. This specimen was larger than one seen earlier in January.

    January 2001

    Photograph by Luke Richards (IOW)

    Luke Richards discovered a blue specimen of the Common Hermit Crab, Pagurus bernhardus from the east coast of the Isle of Wight. The legs and body of this hermit crab are usually orange and cream. A parasitic rhizocephalan barnacle could be responsible for this phenomenon and the exact species is still a subject of discussion on the "Wet Thumb" Smart Group. There does not seem to be a reason why this is so, other than a blue Spider Crab, Maja squinado, was discovered to be parasiticised. However, list members of the Crustacean-L grouphave also suggested genetic, diet and environmental reasons for the colour abnormality. 
    The blue Hermit Crab moulted on 9 February 2001, and as the rhizocephalan parasite  prevents moulting, it seems unlikely this is the cause of the colour change. A Spiny Spider Crab in another Isle of Wight aquarium also moulted to a blue colour.
    Discussion Link (Wet Thumb)
    European Rhizocephalan Species List
    Discussion (Marine Life of the NE Atlantic Smart Group)
    Discussion (Crustacean-L group)

    22 January 2001
    Andy Horton attended the Marine Life Biological Recording Workshop organised by the Marine Biological Association of the UK & Marlin on behalf of the British Marine Life Study Society

    Report (Link)

    12 January 2001
    Jim Hall discovered the curious lamellarid mollusc called Lamellaria perspicua on a bare boulder on the extreme lower shore (on a spring tide) of Lydstep beach, 3 miles from Tenby, SW Wales. 
    This prosobranch mollusc has also been discovered by Jon Makeham at Hannafore Beach, Looe, Cornwall.

    January 2001
    A large Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris, was caught by a Cornish trawlerman Alan Nudd and housed at Newquay "Blue Reef" Aquarium. It was a large specimen with a span including the arms of 150 cm (5 ft). Common Octopuses are common in the Mediterranean but unusual in the English Channel., with only a handful reported each year. However, the smaller Curled Octopus, Eledone cirrhosa, with only a single row of suckers, is found off most British coasts.

    Report by Clive Bremner (from Metro News, a free London newspaper)
Taurulus bubalis (Photograph by Andy Horton)7 January 2001
Several hundred Long-spined Bullheads, Taurulus bubalis, were found washed up on the strandline on Lancing beach, West Sussex. This has not been recorded before.  It was breeding time for these small fish. 
Report by Robert Clark, Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee
7 January 2001
A pod of 20-25 Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were reported to us off Noirmont (SW Jersey). Bottle-nosed Dolphins are seen regularly around Jersey in the first 2 months of the year. 
Report by Nicolas Jouault

1 January 2001
An oiled Gannet is reported from Widewater Lagoon, Lancing, Sussex. This was the first sign of a small oil spill off the Sussex coast with scores of oiled Guillemots and other birds.
Sussex RSPCA, Tel: 0300 1234 999.

Report by Ray Hamblett

The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum commences. 


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