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

Winter: January to March


NEWS 2020

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Link to WINTER 2019 Reports
News for Spring 2020
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8 June
World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day was first declared as 8th June at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Events occurred all around the world on and around this day.

World Oceans Day on facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day


Reports have been omitted and truncated because of a serious illness
for new reports go to 

British Marine Life Study Society
facebook Page:

This is designed for quick less important chatty news items. Photographs can be uploaded quickly which is no longer possible on the Yahoo Group.

16 March 2020
A female Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, was washed ashore dead on the Camber Sands on the Sussex coast. This rare stranding may indicate an offshore population.

BMLSS Seahorse Reports
BMLSS Seahorse page

22 February 2020
A large Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris, was washed ashore dead at Wembury, south Devon. 

The Common Octopus is most easily identified, if discovered in the English Channel, by having two rows of suckers. A hearsay report says they were all wiped out in the cold winter of 1963. This octopus is a southern species at its northern biogeographical limit in winter off British coasts.
BMLSS Octopuses

14 February 2020
A huge 19.25 metre long female Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, washed up alive on the rocks at Parbean Cove near Nare Point, Helford estuary, on the Lizard, south Cornwall, and died hours afterwards in the afternoon. The second largest whale in the sea inhabits deep water and its presence off Cornwall is uncommon, although there has been a handful of strandings in the last decade.

BMLSS Cetacea

30 January - 2 February 2020
Another Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, lost its way in the southern North Sea and was spotted swimming up and down the Thames estuary between north Kent and the Isle of Sheppey for three days before it perished.

The post-mortem found that the whale had not fed before death. 
Mass Sperm Whales Stranding 2016

22 January 2020

Asian Shore Crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus
Photograph by Jason Huckerby

A strange crab found under a rock on the shore near Brighton, Sussex, turned out to be an alien invader known as the Asian Shore Crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, and this seems to be the first confirmed specimens off the coast of Sussex, although there seem to been unverified reports before. The fleshy bulb between the pincers confirms its identification. This crab is a native species of the North-West Pacific coast. It is now established on the other side of the English Channel on the shores of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. There been British reports from Wales and Kent

First Welsh Report 2014
MBA Crabwatch

21 January 2020

Edible Crab,  275 mm width
(The largest recorded specimen known was 285 mm wide.)

A large (cooked) Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus, was seen at Jackson's Fishmongers, Newton Abbot, 4.5 kg live weight! It was likely it was scooped up by a bottom trawl (out of Brixham) over sand or stones while out for a walk as it wouldn't fit into the average static crab pot.

BMLSS Large Edible Crabs

18 January 2020
An injured Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, found alive near the shore off Seaford, Sussex, finally succumbed to the cold and injuries.  This rarest of sea turtles is found in warm and tropical waters, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

BMLSS Turtles

10 January 2020
Very much a surprise discovery, the intact but weeks dead, five metres long Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, found on the extensive vegetated mud flats of The Wash on the North Sea coast was the first one stranded in England and Wales for at least 20 years. Killer Whales are still regularly seen around the Scottish isles of Orkney and Shetland and less frequently off the Outer Hebrides. The distance out of its normal habitats is over 650 miles. Killer Whales are, also, sometimes seen in the Western Approaches and off Cornwall

The Hebridean Community of Killer Whales (or Western Community) is a community living of the western seas of Ireland and Scotland. The Northern Isles Community moves between Iceland and Scotland to hunt and raise young.

BMLSS Cetacea

7 January 2020
Unfortunately, the Hooded Seal, Cystophora cristata, was found washed up dead.

1 January 2020
An under nourished male Hooded Seal, Cystophora cristata, announced his unexpected appearance on the mud flats at Toormore Bay, in County Cork, Ireland. Helen Tilson of Schull Sea Safari discovered the vagrant Arctic Hooded Seal in the morning and its identity became apparent when it growled loudly, which only the males of this seal can do. 

The Hooded Seal is an Arctic species and it is only the fourth recorded off Ireland. It congregates to breed around Greenland and the Denmark Strait (between Iceland and Greenland) from June to August. For the rest of the year it tends to be a solitary animal.


British Marine Life News 2012

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