Marine Life News Bulletin

September 2012

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
Marine Life News 2012
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Courses (Marine Life)
Link to the Fishbase web pages
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
World Register of Marine Species
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2009
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to the Aphoto pages

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

Marine Wildlife Reserve
Link to Jim Anderson's Scottish Nudibranch (and other sea slugs) web pages

7-14 years
Oakley Intertidal 
on facebook
Fish & Sharks of the 
NE Atlantic
New Photographic Gallery 
on flickr
Link to the Sealife Survey on facebook (Marine Biological Assoc. of the Uk.)
Link to Coastal Topography on flickr



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas and seashore around the British Isles.
The bulletin is designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer using medium fonts at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.


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

23 - 25 September 2012

Aberdeen Beach
Photograph by Angela

Storms, gales and torrential rain occurred over most of the British Isles. In this study Aberdeen beach, north-east Scotland, was covered by so much foam churned up by the sea that it looked like snow. 

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.

7 September 2012
Portuguese Man-o'-War, Physalia physalis, were being washed onto beaches and shallow waters on the Cornish coasts and a few bathers experienced stings from the venomous tentacles

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."

Image Link
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

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


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean 
Yahoo Group
New Group:

Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook pageBritish Marine Life Study Society
facebook Page:

This Wall is now working properly and members can now post on it. This is designed for quick less important chatty news items. Photographs can be uploaded quickly which is only possible on the Yahoo Group by going to the web page. 

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link
Lots of marine wildlife reports from Shetland on facebook
Photographs include undersea, sea mammals and birds. 
Click on the image to connect


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

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2009


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.

Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola

This unusual portrait of the large and unusual Sunfish was taken by diver David Riordan snorkelling in the seas off Belmullet, County Mayo. This fish is usually seen on the surface of the sea often lying at an oblique angle and underwater images are uncommon. 

More reports of Sunfish can be found on the
BMLSS Sunfish page

The Sunfish is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. It is an oceanic pelagic traveller that feeds on jellyfish and salps. Most records are from off the south and west coats of Ireland and the British Isles, but there are plenty record off Scotland and its islands and in 2012 reports of Sunfish were received from off Sussex and one was even discovered in Dover Harbour

Ocean Sunfish (Wikipedia)
Sunfish (Fishbase Entry)

Click on the images for the original photographs


Shorewatch Biological Recording


Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and any other interesting information including 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 350K in size.

Dursey Island, County Cork
 Photograph by David Hegarty

Dursey Island (Dóirse Oileán) lies at the southwestern tip of the Beara Peninsula in the west of County Cork in Ireland. Dursey Island is 6.5 km long and 1.5 km wide. The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water called Dursey Sound which has a reef of rocks in the centre of the channel which are submerged on the high tides. The only way across is by cable car, opened in 1969, and it is the only one in Ireland. The journey takes about ten minutes crossing 200 metres of the infamous Dursey Sound where strong tides make travelling by boat hazardous. 

Google Maps View
Trip Advisor: Dursey Island
My Guide Island: Dursey Island

Livestock on Cable Car Controversy

From the furthest tip of the island, Dursey Head, there is a magnificent view. Off the headland, there are three little islands: The Bull, The Cow, and The Calf. The Bull has the largest Gannet colony in Ireland and both it and The Cow have been designated as areas of wild-life protection.

Sunfish (Photograph by David Riordan)
Basking Shark
Ocean Sunfish

Photographs by David Riordan
in the seas off County Cork, southern Ireland

Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, are seen in the seas off Cork during summer and Sunfish, Mola mola, are a frequent occurrence in autumn. Dolphins can be seen from the shore and whales further out into the Atlantic Ocean. 

West Cork Travel: Dursey Island

Click on the images for the original photographs

British Coastal Topography

British 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.


Link to the Porcupine Society web pages
For details of the Porcupine Marine Nature History Society meetings click on the link on the left


 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

Would you know what to do if you found a whale stranded on a beach?

Each year anywhere between five and 50 whales, dolphins and porpoises are washed up on Britain's beaches.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a volunteer charity, was set up in 1998 to rescue them.

BBC News Report

01825  765546







Series: Collins Complete Guide
Collins Complete Guide to British Coastal Wildlife
Paul Sterry and Andrew Cleave
384 pages, approximately 1600 colour photos
Harper Collins

List price is £17.99   Offers available

This comprehensive guide contains all the information for the the beginner seashore enthusiast and plenty for the experienced rockpooler, snorkeller and seashore visitor to make it an essential and first or second choice purchase.
A full review will appear in the November issue of Torpedo

Popular Guide Books (Link)


This is a book about an ocean that vanished six million years ago: the ocean of Tethys, named after a Greek sea nymph.  The oceans are important to climate and environment, and therefore to life on Earth. The story of Tethys is also a story of extinctions, and floods, and extraordinary episodes such as the virtual drying up of the Mediterranean, before being filled again by a dramatic cascade of water over the straits of Gibraltar. 

Dorrik Stow
300 pages, 15 b/w illustrations and maps.
Oxford University Press
ISBN-13: 9780199214297

A Field Guide to Marine Fishes of Wales and Adjacent Waters

by Paul Kay & Frances Dipper 
£19.95 incl. p&p
Soft cover

With 256 pages and numerous photographs supported by drawings, this book is the most comprehensive photographic guide to marine fish currently available in the UK. Published for the Marine Conservation Society with support from the Countryside Council for Wales. 

Click on the image to order this book through the Marine Conservation Society


July 2010

PS: A second revised edition of the book has been published. 


Publisher: Graffeg
Publisher's Review (click on this text)
Review by the City and County of Swansea

This is the book I should have written (and I dare say a few others as well) and is a much needed introduction to the world of the seashore and the hobby of rockpooling. It is a photographic guide to most of the common species encountered which is much appreciated as newcomers and even experienced rockpoolers will try and match up what they have seen to a visual image (and photographs work better than line drawings) and this will usually get them the correct species, (unless there are two very alike species and then you will need a specialist identification guide like the Collins Guide to the Seashore).

However, the seashore is a rich and interesting habitat with a myriad of species and 225 pages of this large pocket guide are comprehensively covered to suit the enthusiast.

Extract from the foreword by Keith Hiscock:
"Being able to names to what you see and, better still, to use your observations to add to our knowledge about the natural world is what this book is about."

But the book for a popular audience is more than this. It starts from the assumption that the parents and teachers and older children are unfamiliar with the seashore environment.


by Andy Horton (August 2010)

Oakley Intertidal on Facebook

BMLSS Guide Books

June 2009

My larger shrimp net, the same design that appeared on River Walks

The Edible Seashore (River Cottage Handbook No. 5)
by John Wright was published

Not just a cookery book: you have to go down to the shore and catch or collect the food yourself. The 240 page hardback book (with an index) is exceptionally well produced in quality of the binding, paper as well as the quality of writing, information and clear useful colour photographs. It is well organised into nine chapters:

Conclusion: Highly recommended, essential purchase ***** (highest five star rating).

BMLSS Shrimping

Marine Fisheries Science Yearbook  2010

Publisher:  defra

Click on this text

Sharks in British Seas

Richard Peirce
138 pages, colour illustrations, line drawings, colour & b/w photos.
Lots of newspaper reports.

Publisher:  Shark Cornwall
Softcover | 2008 | £9.99

ISBN: 978-0-955869402 

by Lucy Beckett-Bowman

Consultant: Andy Horton
Usborne Publishing   £3.99

Usborne Beginners Series
Level One (very young children)

ISBN 978-0-7460-8864-7

BMLSS Notes for a Primary School Teacher

Whales & Dolphins
of the European Atlantic
The Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Celtic Sea and coastal SW Ireland
by Dylan Walker and Graeme Cresswell
with the illustrations by Robert Still
WILDGuides  2008
£ 12.00 (includes standard UK P&P)
ISBN:  978-1-903657-31-7

This is the second fully revised and updated edition of this comprehensive guide to the identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) in the European Atlantic. Until very recently, most researchers and whale-watchers were unaware of the great variety of cetaceans that can be seen so close to the shores of western Europe. Indeed, it is only during the last decade, when detailed cetacean surveys have been carried out in earnest, that we have discovered how important this area is for cetacean biodiversity.

This field guide describes all of the 31 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise that have occurred in the European Atlantic.

BMLSS Cetacean Book Reviews

(Collins New Naturalist) (Paperback)
by Peter Hayward
Collins 2004

ISBN:  0-00-220031-7

Amazon Web Site

Paperback. Pp 288. Colour & b/w photographs, illustrations, charts, maps and bibliography. Fine copy. "New Naturalist" Seashore is a comprehensive, authoritative account of the natural history of the seashore.

BMLSS General Guides
BMLSS Advanced Guides


Working to reduce Marine Pollution and to help the birds caught in it
Quarterly Newsletter
Registered Charity  803473


Decision-making in Marine Mammal
Rescue and Rehabilitation

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

WET THUMB (Marine Aquariology)

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. 
    We also publish the SHOREWATCH Newsletter and
    the TORPEDO Electronic News Bulletin.

    The Glaucus 2002 CD-ROM was sent out to Premier BMLSS members in January 2003.

EMail Address

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


Membership 2012
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2011. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

Bulletin Details

For technical reasons, TORPEDO is no longer being sent out by EMail. It is simply easier to view the bulletins on the web pages.

To save download times, only new images are included with each Bulletin.
The Bulletin is designed to be viewed on Internet Explorer using medium fonts at a resolution of 1024 x 768. 
Viewing should be possible on Mozilla and other browsers.

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

These pages are not designed for the default settings on the Page Set-ups of your browser. I recommend viewing in Microscope Internet Explorer and altering the right and left hand columns in the Page Set-up menu to 9 mm (from 19 mm).
The page set-up can also be amended in other web page editors.

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors
     26 September 2012
Copyright  2012   © British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs