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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Summer 2012

BMLSS (England) Index
 Cornish Marine Life Records 2009
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Marine Life News 2012

Norwegian Marine***
to Other Sites
(Click on Text)
Yahoo Group
Marine Wildlife of the 
NE Atlantic
Group Photo Pool
World Register of Marine Species
Link to the Aphoto pages
Link to Sealordphotography
Encyclopedia of Marine Life 
Articles in other Journals. Publications

Monthly Marine News Bulletin
Link to the Fishbase web pages
 Cetacean List (NE Atlantic)

CEFAS Marine Monitoring
Link to the Sealife Survey on facebook (Marine Biological Assoc. of the Uk.)

Snail Mail
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2009

World Oceans Day 
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: 

Winter 2012 News Reports, January - March
Spring 2012 News Reports (Links)
Link to the News Reports, October to December 2012


Equinox Times & Dates 2010 et seq.


30 September 2012

Young Fin Whale
Photographs by John Cox
A member from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) taking samples for the post mortem

Another Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, has become a casualty washed up dead on the east coast of England at Shingle Street, near Hollesley, Suffolk, in the afternoon. The juvenile female whale was 9.8 metres in length and did not appear to be injured.

A young Sowerby's Beaked Whale, Mesoplodon bidens, was washed ashore alive at the beach near Auburn Farm, near Bridlington, Yorkshire. However, the 3.37 metre long whale was very ill with a bacterial infection and beaching injuries, and after unsuccessful rescue attempts it had to be euthanised. The young whale would have weighed about half a tonne.  Previous Beaked Whale Report 2012
British Divers Marine Life Rescue

26 September 2012
Another Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis, was washed ashore, this time in Northumberland on the north-east coast of England. It came ashore on the sandy beach at Druridge Bay, (seven miles wide from Amble in the north to Cresswell in the south). The 8.6 metres long whale was extremely thin and too malnourished to be refloated and to any chance of survival, so it was euthanised. 

 14 September 2012

Stranded Sei Whale
Photograph by Toxic Web

Another baleen whale was washed up dead on a beach on the east coast of Scotland. This time it was a large 13 metre long Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis, discovered on the sandy beach at Elliot, Arbroath, around 8.30 am.

6 September 2012
As the sun rose above the ocean on the edge of the continental shelf off south-west Ireland (on the Porcupine Bight, west of Dursey Island in County Cork), the team on the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's new marine research vessel Celtic Mist were greeted by several Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalus, and shortly afterwards had the amazing opportunity to witness two Blue Whales, Balaenoptera musculus, surface within 500 metres of the boat. This is only the third discovery of Blue Whales off Ireland on a week long trip in which eleven cetacean species were recorded. 

BMLSS Cetaceans
Bathymetry (British Isles)

2 September 2012
An extremely unusual of an angling capture of a Long-billed (Atlantic) Spearfish, Tetrapturus pfleuger, off a beach known as the Knap, Barry Island, south Wales, was the first known record of this tropical pelagic fish in British seas. 

Long-billed (Atlantic) Spearfish  (Click for image please)

"This fish was caught around 1 hour 45 minutes after high water, The fish was very clean an lively an even had a sticky fish stuck to it. It was then put back alive but wasn't very strong so I got in the sea to help it out. It the swam off alive, minus the sucker fish which I lost."

Sea View Lads Angling Club

2 September 2012

Pilot Whale Stranding
Photographs by Jacqui Hetherington

A mass stranding of 26 Long-finned Pilot Whales, Globicephala melas, was discovered at the foot of the steep cliffs at Pittenweem (near Anstruther), Fife, east Scotland, at 7.10 am in the morning. Thirteen of the Pilot Whales which were already dead and probably only nine of the remaining animals were likely to survive. The survivors were being attended to by the medics and volunteers of British Divers Marine Life Rescue. At mid morning, reports came in of another 24 Pilot Whales in the shallows three miles along the coast at Cellardyke on the north coast of the outer Firth of Forth. By the late afternoon three of the surviving whales perished, but ten of them swam off strongly into open water on the high tide, two of them with help from the human volunteers to join the pod as they had stranded again. 

One of the surviving Pilot Whales subsequently died but the other survivors joined the rest of the pod and were seen further up the Firth of Forth possibly feeding on shoals of squid reported in the area. 

On 9 September 2012 a Pilot Whale calf was washed up dead. This calf may have been dependent on its mother who became beached and died. Pilot Whale Stranding & Rescue in 2011
BMLSS Cetaceans

24 August 2012
An exceptionally large 7 kg (15 lb 4 oz) European Lobster, Homarus gammarus, was found by divers, Mark Corp and Mark Reed, and donated to the Blue Reef Aquarium at Portsmouth. It appears to be the largest and heaviest Lobster caught off the British coast since 1931

BMLSS Lobsters

A very rare leucistic all white Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, was photographed in the Moray Firth, off NE Scotland.

A Porbeagle Shark, Lamna nasus, is discovered dead on the sand of Filey Beach, Yorkshire.

BMLSS Sharks

15 -16 August 2012
A young Sowerby's Beaked Whale, Mesoplodon bidens, was washed up alive but in distress at Aust near the First Severn Crossing. The 2.7 metre long beaked whale calf became beached at about 10:00 pm and was euthanised by a vet at about 3:30 pm on the second day. 
"The beaked whale calf should have been with its mother. If we had managed to refloat the animal it would have starved to death because its mother wasn't anywhere near and the likelihood of them finding each other was limited," said the vet Elspeth Hardie.
Beaked Whales are an elusive deep water whales which are rarely seen around the British Isles.

14 August 2012
An 18 metre long Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, swam into Baltimore Harbour, County Cork, early in the  morning and stayed virtually motionless at the bottom of the pier all day. Fishermen tried to coax the huge mammal back into open water without success. As crowds of people arrived to watch, experts realised that the whale must be ill to behave in such a strange manner.
Pádraig Whooley (IWDG) said "the whale’s behaviour suggested it was very unwell and would almost certainly die. If this was a healthy whale she could probably reverse out of harbour. It looks somewhat emaciated, and thrashing throughout the night has caused some injuries." 
The whale died in the harbour on 15 August 2012 Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (IWDG)
IWDG Facebook Discussion
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

Fin Whale blowing, trapped in Baltimore Harbour
Photograph by Keith Kingston

13 August 2012
An unusual report was received of a tropical Smalltooth Sandtiger Shark, Odontaspis ferox*, washed up on the southern coast the English Channel (la Manche) and found alive on the sandy shore at Agon-Coutainville on the Cherbourg Peninsula (west coast). (So extraordinary was this report that I did not include it until the identity of the fish could be verified.) The 2.5 metre long shark, weighing in excess of 200 kg was pushed back into the sea and was not recovered for identification. 
(*probable ID only, not verified.) 
Discussion on the Marine Wildlife of the NE Yahoo Group

Smalltooth Sandtiger Sharks have been caught at widely scattered locations throughout the world, indicating a possibly circumtropical distribution. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it is known from the Bay of Biscay south to Morocco, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.
BMLSS Sharks
BMLSS Shark News

Fin Whale & Boy (Photograph by Robin Leath)

Fin Whale floundering in the surf at Carlyon Bay
Photograph by Robin Leath

 The photograph was taken at a vantage point some 250 metres from the Fin Whale and about 20 metres above it. The whale was still alive at the time of this shot, but floundering heavily and probably suffocating under its own immense weight in the surf along the Carlyon bay beach, Cornwall.

A badly injured fully grown 19 metre long Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, was washed ashore at CarlyonBay on the south coast of Cornwall two miles east of St. Austell. The live whale was is such a poor condition that it had to be euthanised

BMLSS Cetaceans
IUCN Red List Entry of a threatened species
BMLSS Strandings Page

The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) has been running since 1990 and is funded by Defra and the Devolved Administrations. They co-ordinate the investigation of all whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans), marine turtles and basking sharks that strand around the UK coastline. 


Stranded Animal Call Line: 0800 6520333

More Stranded Animal Report Numbers (Link)

10 August 2012

Rockpooling Event at the Old Fort organised by the Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB)

Over 150 rockpoolers descended down on  to the safe beach at Old Fort, Shoreham Beach at low tide and they were able to forage in the pools for over two hours. The critters of the seashore never had a chance to escape the flimsy nets and probing fingers of the youngsters. Fish fry swam in the shallow pools, notably scores of the young of the Two-spotted Goby, Gobiusculus flavescens. Many of the captures were decamped to temporary aquariums further of the beach and returned to the pools before the incoming tide. Other notable captures included a juvenile Greater Pipefish, Syngnathus acus, looking like a thin strip of seaweed until it wriggled, juvenile flatfish including two small Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa, with more escaping the nets, the first intertidal Solenette (Slipper Sole), Buglossidium luteum, and the expected mixture of Bass fry, Dicentrarchus labrax, small prawns and shrimps, tiny Bullheads, Taurulus bubalis, Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, of all sizes and colours and the common intertidal molluscs

FOSB Events
BMLSS Rockpooling

7 August 2012
A most extraordinary encounter occurred between a 10 metre long juvenile Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, and a fishing vessel of a similar length out of Whitby, Yorkshire.
"The whale suddenly appeared and started rubbing against the boat, swimming under and around us and then rubbing its belly on the boat. It stayed for about 20 minutes, and when we had to move on it went over to the Mistress which was fishing about half a mile away. They radioed to say it was doing exactly the same to their boat,” said Sea Otter 2 skipper Paul Kilpatrick.
"It sounds as though it was trying to bond. Rubbing its belly on the boat mimics suckling behaviour of a calf towards its mother,” said Robin Petch of the Sea Watch Foundation.  “I have grave worries for this youngster. My hope is that it has been reunited with its mother, but if it has become lost, or the mother has perished, it would be very unlikely to survive for very long.”
The knobby head and long pale flippers identified this cetacean as the Humpback Whale rather than the Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, of which the fishermen were familiar with in the North Sea.

Sea Watch Foundation Sightings Page
BMLSS Cetacea

4 August 2012
In living memory the Thresher Shark, Alopias vulpinus, was if not a regular sighting off the Sussex coast, it would be remarkable because of its exceptionally long caudal fin. Now, a Thresher Shark is a newsworthy event caught by a boat angler out of the notable shark fishing centre of Looe, south Cornwall. The shark was landed and released. 
Three species of Thresher Shark have been declared to be "vulnerable", according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) 
IUCN Red List of a threatened species

Link to an Image of a Thresher Shark (jumping out of the water) from Cardigan Bay, Wales
Why Thresher Sharks have huge caudal fins (BBC)
BMLSS Sharks
July 2012
Field magazine for August 2012 has featured Lobsters and one on beach Shrimping as well. Available in the larger branches of WH Smith on the shelf from the end of July 2012. Recommended light reading. £4.20.

24 July 2012
A large 400 tonne cliff fall  occurred at Burton Bradstock on the Jurassic Coast, Dorset; unfortunately killing and burying a young woman walking underneath. The soft crumbly cliffs have a predilection for landslides after periods of heavy rain.  Geology of the Wessex Coast

Photographs by Graham Wiffen Photography

Cliff Fall at Burton Bradstock
Photographs by Graham Wiffen
Graham Wiffen Photography

Link to Graham Wiffen Seascapes

Graham Wiffen Seascapes

23 July 2012

A juvenile Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was observed swimming in very shallow water (swimming amongst bathers!) at the coastal town of De Panne (Belgium). It’s length was estimated at around two metres, and it could be identified through the photographs provided by deputy-chief lifeguard Filip Jongbloet.

Photograph by Nic Faulks15 July 2012
An Arctic Rigid Cushion Star, Hippasteria phrygiana, was spotted on a dive off the Northumberland coast in the proposed Marine Conservation Zone between Coquet and St Mary’s. This northern species is one of only two records off an English coast. It usually inhabits the seas off Greenland and all over the northern Atlantic although it it is present in the seas around the Shetland Isles and it has been trawled off St. Abbs further north on the same North Sea coast. This cushion star was around 10 cm across and was recorded at 20 metres depth on a cobble/pebble seabed. 

Marine Conservation Zone Project Interactive Map
BMLSS Echinoderms

4 July 2012
Several fisherman have reported seeing a dead and decaying Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, about a metre and a half long to the east of the island of Herm in the Channel Islands. There are no records of a live individual of this species has ever been reported from the Channel Islands area. Occasional turtles have been seen before though. 

BMLSS Turtles


British Marine Life News 2011

Cornish Marine Life Records 2009
BMLSS Oil Disasters page


The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum


Nature Notes Webring


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