Marine Life News Bulletin

September 2007

ISSN 1464-8156

On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
Link to the British Marine Life News 2007
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to the Cornish Marine Life Reports (by Ray Dennis) for 2006
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to an on-line page for younger students of the seashore. Spider Crab and youngsters at Adur World Oceans Day 2002 (Photograph by Duncan Morrison)
7-14 years

Norwegian Marine***

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Scottish Association for Marine Science

Silver Dolphin Centre, Helston, Cornwall

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages

Marine Life Society
South Australia ***

De Strandwerkgemeenschap

Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas and seashore around the British Isles.
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Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the NE Atlantic Ocean.

19 September 2007
A large Deepwater Crawfish, Palinurus mauretanicus*, has been caught by commercial fishermen about 200 miles (321 km) from Newlyn, Cornwall. Measuring 59.5 cm (23 in) long, this is a large specimen of a species usually found in more southerly seas and an unusual capture off British coasts. It has been kept in captivity in the Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay. The usual species of Spiny Lobster is Palinurus elephas, and this is found off the south and west of the British Isles.
(* Species assumed without precise ID.)

Palinurus mauretanicus are recorded off the west of Ireland to 53°N, but only below 180 metres, normally below 200 metres. As there is not much water of that depth close to the UK, they are very infrequent in British landings. Catches in the Western Mediterranean can be of 200 to 300 crayfish at a time, presumably these are breeding groups.

The first specimen of the Deepwater Crawfish, Palinurus mauritanicus, was captured in Irish waters was taken around 1914 from 51 20'N, 11 20'W (400 metres).
Since then occasional specimens (6) have been recorded from western waters, including both inshore (two berried females, one weighing 2.2 kg, from 25 metres depth during September/October 1971) and offshore waters (Porcupine Bank, 400 metres, 1986).
However, during July 1986 and March 1987 a phenomenal number of specimens (1430) were landed by demersal trawlers fishing off the SW coast into Castletownbere and Dingle. Carapace lengths and body weights ranged from 5.4 cm (105 g) to 15.7cm (2.4 kg). None of the females were berried or had spermatophore plugs. The specimens were taken from areas of undulating sand along with fragments of the coral Lophohelia pertusa.
Although there have been no subsequent reports of Palinurus mauritanicus from Irish waters, the two inshore records (from 1971) would suggest that the species is capable of attaining maturity in Irish waters, and it is possible that there may be an established, albeit sporadic, population off the SW coast of Ireland.

Comment by Declan Quigley
BMLSS Crustacea
BMLSS Public Aquaria List

September 2007
In the last three weeks we have been observing the fragile String Jellyfish, Apolemia uvaria, in areas of plankton over deep water in various places off Land's End, Cornwall. 

BMLSS Other Siphonophores

14 September 2007
An Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus, landed at Shoreham, Sussex, and caught in the Selsey area of West Sussex, weighed 3.9 kg and measured 270 mm across its carapace. This is the largest crab on record from Sussex and as big as they get anywhere. 

Report by Hugh Clench
BMLSS Edible Crabs
Marine Life of Sussex

12 September 2007 
Working from a survey vessel south-east of Suðuroy in the Faroe Islands (north of Scotland), we witnessed 40 Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, plus 10 unidentified large whales (probably more Fin Whales) and one Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. This was over the course of a sail line some 50 miles in length. We thought we also saw a Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis. 
I am sure there are other places in the world that this spectacle occurs, but this area seems to hold a staggering number of these huge cetaceans. I have only encountered such numbers once before, in 2002 and in the same region.

BMLSS Cetacea

10 September 2007
We were hauling monkfish nets about 20 miles out to sea off Cornwall when a grey strange worm-like creature came up through the net hauler, it had wrapped itself up in the net. It looks like something out of X-files for sure. It had no real visible eyes or mouth. After initially wriggling round frantically for a couple of minutes; it played dead. After taking a couple of photographs with my phone, I scooped it up with the trusty shovel and flipped it over the side. It promptly swam away in an eel or snake-like fashion. It was about 60 cm long.

Report and Images by Sharpshooter on the World Sea Fishing Forum

The Nemertean "worm" was identified by myself and Richard Lord (Guernsey) of the genus Cerebratulus. 

It could very well be of Cerebratulus marginatus (definitely Nemertean, and confident it's a Cerebratulus). The species can be up to 1 metre long but can contract to less than half their extended length.
Gibson (1982) notes that Cerebratulus marginatus is rarely found on the lower shore and usually obtained when dredging in sandy or muddy sediments at depths of 20-150 metres or more. It can be caught on fishing lines when mussel flesh is used as bait. It is a strong swimmer and often rotates about it's own longitudinal axis. It tends to fragment when handled. When I get them in a sample they are always in pieces!
NBN Distribution Map
Notes by Peter Barfield (Sea-nature Studies)

5 September 2007
An astonishing 462+ Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen in the morning between Longships and The Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland!  Accompanying the sharks were many Gannets, suggesting that fish and plankton would have been present. Also, in much the same place (10 km sq. SW 33) between 20 and 24 Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus griseus, and 35 Common Dolphins Delphinus delphis, were recorded. 

Report by Martin Eliot (Sennen, Cornwall) via Stella Turk MBE
on the Cornish Wildlife Mailing List

4 September 2007
A young male Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus, called "George" followed a boat into the River Adur, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, and stayed for most of the day until coaxed back out to sea by Shoreham inshore lifeboat before it could stranded on the low neap tide
This particular Bottle-nosed Dolphin habitually enters English Channel harbours, but for all of last year was found around the French coast. 

Marine Life off Sussex
BMLSS Cetacea
Whales & Dolphins around the British Isles

120 Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen in the morning between Longships and The Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland!

Report by Martin Eliot (Sennen, Cornwall) via Stella Turk MBE

3 September 2007
60 Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen in the morning between Longships and The Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland!

Report by Martin Eliot (Sennen, Cornwall) via Stella Turk MBE
BMLSS Basking Sharks

20 August 2007
An Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana, was caught by an angler from a boat at the entrance to Chichester Harbour, Sussex. This southern fish is rarely caught in British seas and was probably the very first one recorded and identified (by Dr. William Smith-Vaniz) in the seas off Sussex. 
Two more Almaco Jacks have been caught since the above one, one from Grand Rocque Bay on the west coast of Guernsey on 29 August 2007 and another from just off Crantock in north Cornwall by Newquay fisherman Phil Trebilcock at the beginning of September 2007

Chichester Report by Chris Tett (Weymouth)
Reports and Information collated by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
BMLSS Seriola Jacks


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

With the closure of Smart Groups at the end of November 2006 most of the 7500+ messages have been filed at:

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Jiglu

For ongoing messages please transfer to the Yahoo forum as I think you will find that easier to use.
Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Yahoo Group
New Group:

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link


All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given 
to other observers or reporters.

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2005


Each month, at least one special marine image will be published from images sent to the BMLSS. This can be of the seashore, undersea world or any aspect of the marine natural world, especially the underwater life, but not restricted to life beneath the waves. Topical inclusions may be included instead of the most meritorious, and images will be limited to the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas, marine and seashore species and land and seascapes.

1 September 2007

Argyrosomus regius taken in a fish-market on the Bay of Cádiz on the southwestern coast of Spain.  The four fish weighed about 20 kg or so each. 

Report and Photographs by Terry Billany



Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and the grid reference, if known. Print photographs can be included in Exhibitions and on the BMLSS Web Sites and electronic publications. Electronic images in *.jpg format can also be considered for the web site. They should not exceed 250K in size.

Sunset at Grand Rocque Bay, Guernsey, Channel Islands
Photograph by Steve (Guernsey)

flickrBritish Coastal Topography

First enquiry by EMail to

New EMail address


Photographers submitting pictures should indicate if they wish them to be considered for inclusion as confirming permission takes work and time and can delay publication of the news bulletins. 

Link to more marine life photographs

Click on the album for more links (On-line link)




In chronological order, the most recent events are at the top of the page. Events open to the public, free or for a nominal charge only are included. Most Seminars need to be booked in advance.

See the venues for talks and activities in the left hand column.
Click on the images (on-line) for the latest information.

BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology

(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)

 Public Aquaria List
?  What to do if you find a stranded whale or dolphin  ?

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach you must send for help QUICKLY. A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not an animal can be returned to the sea alive.

0300 1234 999
0300 1234 999
0131 339 0111
0845 201 2626
01534 724331
00 44 1481 257261

British Divers Marine Life Rescue
01825  765546





Click on this image for a link for further details

The Gulf Stream
by Bruno Voituriez 
Publisher:  UNESCO 
ISBN:  92-3-103995-4 
222 pages, figures, glossary, bibliography

The Gulf Stream
Amid contemporary scenarios of potential climatic catastrophes and global warming that might be imagined to bring a new ice age, the powerful image of the Gulf Stream rising from the Florida Straits and flowing to the north Atlantic inevitably provokes questions about its ecological significance and whether it might ever stop.


Coastal Plankton
Photo Guide for European Seas

by Otto Larink & Wilfried Westheide

reviewed by Wim van Egmond

ISBN  0-9522831-5-8

Available from:



Eastern English Channel Habitat Atlas for Marine Resource Management
is available for download from

Encyclopaedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Marine Fauna of Norway

BMLSS: Marine Life Articles in Publications (Link)

The British Marine Life Study Society are responsible for producing the journal GLAUCUS, which is the first publication exploring the marine life of the seas surrounding the British Isles available to the general public. In future, I expect the publication to be in an electronic format. 

EMail Address

New EMail addressEMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society 


Membership 2007
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2007. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

How to Join

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Printing the two column version of Torpedo (from issue 28)

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Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors

       24 September 2007

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.7 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aperLen NevellMarc AbrahamJohn KnightUrchin fossil (out of scale) dating the pebbles at 85 million years oldMermaid's PursesPeter Talbot-ElsdenCharlie DimmickAndy HortonSamanthaThe crab was called Rooney because of its missing leg. Nobody asked about the brain cells of a crab?