large whale, initially identified as a Minke
acutorostrata, was reported floating 8
km west of Hoek van Holland. Subsequently, it was decided to tow the whale
out of the way. However, after an analysis of several photographs by Kees
Camphuysen, the whale was identified as a
Megaptera novaengliae. This the first record of this species in
on Portland Wildlife News
outlandish and completely unexpected addition to the Portland Island (Dorset)
mammal list came today in the form of a Harp
Seal, Pagophilus groenlandicus,
that was found hauled out on rocks along the East Cliffs at the Bill during
the afternoon; it remained there for three hours before being flushed off
by the incoming tide.
Harp Seal is an Arctic species that is hunted (cf. culled) in the frozen
north of Canada.
(Organsation Cetacea) Report with previous sightings
Swordfish has been reported stranded on
the Causeway to Worms Head, near Rhossilhi Beach, Gower peninsular in south
Wales. It lived for one hour.
this report has not been confirmed.
swordfish very occasionally reported in British seas is the Broad-billed
Swordfish, Xiphias gladius.
Risso's Dolphins, Grampus griseus,
were reported off Fermain, Guernsey, and later ten of these dolphins were
seen on a flat sea off Brehon Tower. Risso's Dolphins are only rarely reported
from around the Channel Islands.
Worthing (West Sussex), on a shallow water dive site known as the Worthing
Lumps, a small school of Rock Cooks (Small-mouth
exoletus, were seen shyly swimming by
the rock face, quite unlike the bolder Corkwing,
melops (=Crenilabrus), and Goldsinny
The neon colours of the Rock Cook make
it look different to other wrasse: one side appears violet and the other
Cooks (Small-mouth Wrasse),
inconspicuous wrasse have not been recorded off
the Sussex coast before and the books state that
is fish is only known from the southern and western coasts of Britain.
They may have been overlooked, but they are certainly not a common occurrence.
There have been no records of juvenile fish in Sussex rock
pools, where the Corkwing
first year fish are very common and Ballan
Wrasse, Labrus bergylta,
juveniles occasionally discovered.
Nature Notes 2003
unusual orange European Lobster,
gammarus, is put on display in
Public Aquarium in St. Peter Port.
Mailing List contains numerous reports of cetaceans off the Cornish
Dolphins, Grampus griseus, were
seen off Botallack, Cornwall, including one youngster. They were heading
north towards Pendeen, half a mile off shore at noon.
dolphin does not habitually associate with boats so its frequency may be
greater than the occasional reports.
whale skull was landed at Shoreham
(Monteum's Wharf, River Adur) by fisherman Nick
Brown from a small (under 10 metres length)
trawler fishing three miles off Brighton Marina, Sussex.
Details and Photographs
whale skull was eventually identified as that of the Fin
Whale, Balaenoptera physalis.
small Ocean Sunfish, Mola
mola, approx. 50 cm nose to tail, was encountered in rough water
1/2 mile north of Whitehills harbour, Scotland, this afternoon. This harbour
is near Banff in NE Scotland. Sunfish are a newsworthy fish in this northern
part of the North Sea.
continues to be a very unique year here in the outer Moray Firth, NE Scotland.
Once again, the sea is boiling with fish (second wave of Mackerel
this year now running), Sandeels now even abound in the harbours,
and even reports of Sardines
being caught by fishing boats! in addition to vast quantities of squid!
last five weeks of intensive squid trawling (see earlier reports to UK
Cetnet) have severely impacted the distribution
of cetaceans along the whole coastline at this
time. The Harbour Porpoises
are only just returning to this area at present with the dissipation of
trawlers and the numerous Minke Whales
previously in the area all headed out of the Moray Firth. Apart from a
single adult Minke Whale,
five miles off the coastline and a couple of juvenile encounters, there
have been no confirmed Minke Whales
encounters since 12 August 2003.
pod of over 500
Phocoena phocoena, were
seen off Land's End , Cornwall, the sea boiling with fish shoals around
the fishing boat.
Whale and Dolphin Watch
Watch Foundation organised the UK's National Whale and Dolphin Watch
Weekend, aimed at providing a snapshot picture of the numbers and variety
of whales, dolphins and porpoises to be seen around the British Isles.
Report and Photographs and Further Information
Whales, Peponocephala electra,
became stranded alive near La Rochelle, western France (Charente-Maritime
département, Poitou-Charentes région) in the central coastal
area of the Bay of Biscay (latitude 46°). Both stranded whales were
helped back to sea, but one of them was discovered washed up dead on a
nearby beach on 29 August 2003.
When the live beached whales were discovered, neither was outwardly seen
to be ill or injured.
is the first record of this whale seen alive in European seas as this is
a tropical species that usually lives and hunts in large schools in the
dead specimen was an adult male that measured 2.43 metres long and weighed
123 kg (the other whale measured approximately the same length). This
is nearly its full size and
although they are called whales they are actually 30% smaller than Bottle-nosed
Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus.
potter Micky Guille captured an orange
gammarus, in 60 metres of water about ten miles south-west of Pleinmont,
south coast of Guernsey.
unusual lobster was kept alive in his vivier, until put on public display
in the Guernsey Public
Aquarium on 10 September 2003.
protection was introduced for the Darwin Mounds,
a deep water cold water coral reef off the north west of Scotland. The
mounds are situated in the top end of the Rockall Trough off north-west
Scotland, in waters 1,000 metres deep.
main coral species forming the rare and interesting habitat is Lophelia
pertusa but Madrepora oculata is also known to be present.
The protection forbids all fishing and oil exploration in the area because
of the damage such activities would cause.
Offshore Habitats Protection
unusual intertidal fish (at least around the British coast) were discovered
in shallow, under three metres depth, water over sand off Limeslade Beach,
south Wales, were a small shoal of Red
Mullus surmuletus, located
in a channel amongst the sand. Further out in deeper water there were some
the same date, some more specimens were discovered on the Belgian coast
specimens of the square-carapaced crab, Hemigrapsus
caught on the Belgian shore at Koksijde. This Japanese (eastern Pacific)
immigrant which has been known from France (1994 at la Rochelle and 1997
at le Haura) and The Netherlands (2000), is a new arrival for the Belgian
carcinofauna. The most likely method of accidental introduction is in the
ballast tanks or on the hull fouling of merchant vessels.
in the Pacific this crab seems to occupy similar habitats to the native
It may be a similar predator.
Information on this crab
Whale, Orcinus orca, has been spotted
off the south coast of Cornwall by a group on a fishing trip. Five miles
off Porthscatho, south Cornwall (near Falmouth), the Orca
breached out of the water and did a sideways flip five or six times.
by Rob Searle, (owner of Falmouth-based Segue Charters)
item via the Cornish
Bream, Sparus aurata, of
1.66 kg & 1.7 kg were caught by angler
Colin Mills off the south coast of Cornwall.
These southern fish are increasingly being reported off the coast of Cornwall,
and if the trend continues, their capture will cease to be newsworthy.
delaisi, was discovered in a rockpoolat
Les Écréhous, Jersey. This warm water fish fish is more likely
to be found in the shallow seas to the south of the English Channel. It
is a small secretive fish and although not a true blenny,
it hides in crannies and will rarely feature in fishermen or angler's catches.
diver's are beginning to see more of this attractive fish and they have
been reported notably from off the coast of Dorset. This is my first record
of this fish discovered on the shore. It was about 55 mm in length.
Black-faced Blenny page
nudibranch (sea slug) Rostanga
rubra was also discovered on the same shore.
travelling out from Littlehampton marina on Friday night, we passed four
very large Rhizostoma octopus
and counted 21 Compass Jellyfish, Chrysaora
hysoscella, over a period of an hour.
octopus (=R. pulmo)
Saturday morning we went armed with cameras. Within 20 minutes we had found
three Rhizostomas. The last two were close enough to see the juvenile
fish, probably Scad,
trachurus, swimming alongside. We dived with
the third Rhizostoma for about 30 minutes. It stayed within the
top three metres of water. We saw a third as we headed back to the marina
on a different heading.
to the Image by Paul Parsons (Aquapix)
also spotted eight Compass Jellyfish, which
are known from the sea of Sussex but only occasionally.
a few boat transects today we saw absolutely loads of the jellyfish, Rhizostoma
octopus off the Rhossilhi/Llangennith beach, Gower, south
Wales and further into Carmarthen Bay. I'm not even going to attempt a
number, but unless they were all stretched out in lines which corresponded
exactly with our transects there must have been tens of thousands.
LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON
HABITAT AND BIRDS DIRECTIVE
consultation is to look at increasing protection for important offshore
sites such as the Darwin Mounds, Nature Conservation Minister Ben Bradshaw
12 week consultation puts forward proposals to extend the protection afforded
to important species and habitats under the Birds and Habitats Directives,
which currently does not go beyond 12 nautical miles of the UK coastline.
bothids (left-eyed Flounders) that have been identified as the Eckströms
Topknot, Phrynorhombus regius occasionally appear in crab
pots off Guernsey's south coast at this time of year. I was given
a 25 mm long specimen from a crab pot.
Lord 2003 (Guernsey)
several photos and noticed that it had an elongated process emanating from
the dorsal margin of the left eye. This process is not illustrated
on Fishbase or in Volume
III of 'Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean'.
I would like to know what possible function this process or protuberance
serves and whether it is found also in adult specimens?
2 August 2003
ovigerous (with eggs) female Slipper Lobster,
Scyllarus arctus, was caught just off the Eddystone Lighthouse, south
Cornwall, by Looe-based fishermen Richard Chapman. This strange crustacean
is only a rare discovery in British seas, normally found in waters to the
south. However, it is now suspected there could be a small breeding population
off the coast of Cornwall. It measured 14 cm long and was identified by
the experts at MarLIN (Marine
Life Information Network).
exact date of capture was probably a few days before this newspaper report
in the Western
pod of seven or eight Killer
Whales, Orcinus orca, was recorded
in the Pentland Firth between Caithness, (north Scotland) and the Orkney
Isles by crew and passengers on board the John o' Groats ferry. The sighting
was reported in local papers.
angling off Rotunda Beach at the base of Folkestone Pier, Kent, I caught
the following fish which I think is an Twaite
Shad, Alosa fallax. It was 38 cm (15 ") long and weighed 624
grams (1lb 6oz). The iridescent scales on the fish were large,
about 20 mm in diameter. (However, it is possible that this species
is the Allis Shad, Alosa alosa, as the only reliable method of differentiating
the two species is by counting the gill rakers.)
spots along the side of the body present in the Twaite Shad were absent,
but these spots are often missing. (Andy Horton)
the scale pattern on the fish I am pretty sure that it is a Twaite Shad
and a spent one at that. (Miran
Shad (click on the image for a closer look)
June 2003, I caught a Twaite Shad, Alosa
fallax, on rod and line from off the beach at Brighton. Sussex.
was about 48 cm long and like an oversized herring. Its scales were very
large (I kept some as they came off easily on handling).
Twaite Shad is a rare endangered migratory fish rarely caught in the English
Channel. It is the commoner of the two shad species found in British waters.
The other species is the Allis Shad, Alosa
the Twaite Shad and the Allis Shad are listed on Appendix II of the Bern
Convention and Annexes II and V of the Habitats Directive. They are protected
under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
Biodiversity Action Plan for the Twaite Shad
Report page for the Twaite Shad
was a mass stranding of 500+ Mauve
Stingers (small jellyfish), Pelagia
noctiluca, at Porthcothan, Cornwall. This is the most unusual of
the British species of pelagic jellyfish to wash up, but large swarms occur
in years of abundance.
being a small jellyfish, it has a reputation as a stinger,
in the Mediterranean.
the Sea Rocket, Orache etc, on the strandline, a Peanut
Plant has taken root.
captured a large Lobster, Homarus gammarus,
a Portland (Dorset) wreck which weighed about 5 kg, but it only had one
claw. The human foot in the picture is size eleven. Specimens over 5 kg
are only occasionally caught incidentally in other fisheries as large lobsters
cannot get into the pots. They are often covered in keelworms.
FOR FOOD AND FUN
shrimper Peter Talbot-Elsden, from Southwick (Sussex),
has produced a small booklet called “Shrimping for Food and Fun”
about catching the brown shrimp around the coasts of Britain. The shrimps
are caught in nets and the book features the various methods, firstly the
push-netting seen over the sand in shallow water in spring off the Sussex
coast. The famous Morecambe Bay shrimps were originally captured by cart
shanker shrimping with a horse and cart in deeper water off the Lancashire
coast, later replaced by a tractor. At Formby, they experimented with amphibious
vehicles after World War II. Nowadays, most commercial shrimping on the
east coast around King’s Lynn trawls from small boats using a net off the
stern. Shrimps are often cooked on board.
28 page book contains 40 photographs of shrimping through the ages. It
is available through Bookworms of Shoreham
and other booksellers at £3.50.
booklet is also available through the British
Marine Life Study Society, but at £4 including postage and packing.
Talbot-Elsden manned the shrimp display at Adur
World Oceans Day.