Marine Life News Bulletin

March 2013

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
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 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
    Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland



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

5 March 2013
Two Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaengliae, were seen blowing off Ushat Head near Brims Ness, Caithness, the northerly tip of mainland Scotland. This is unusual in winter and not seen often even in summer. 

Whales & Dolphins in British Seas (by Steve Savage)

3 March 2013
A Walrus, Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus, was spotted hauled out at Brides Ness, North Ronaldsay, the most northern of the Orkney Islands. It's thought to likely be a male due to the pinkish nodules on the neck and shoulders. The animal does not appear to have sustained any injury and could just be not used to encountering humans; probably why we got so close. The Walrus is an Arctic sea mammal and is only very rarely seen in the seas surrounding the British Isles. It feeds mostly on molluscs

Report and Photographs by Gavin Woodbridge  (BBC Radio Orkney) on facebook
with Fleur Warren and Mark Twitch Warren

"The sandy sea bed around North Ronaldsay has food for him too, they will take Spoots, Ensis, but are especially fond of Blunt Gaper, Mya truncata, and there's plenty around there." 

Comments by Martin Gray
"This is the first confirmed sighting since 1986 in Orkney."
Comments by Lorna Whittle

North Ronaldsay Bird & Walrus Sightings
Walrus Report from Ireland in 1999

BMLSS Seals and other Pinnipeds

25/26 February 2013
At the meeting of the European Commission Agriculture and Fisheries Council the decision was made to make a decisive stance on the important matter of fishery discards. Ministers said a ban on "discards" should be phased in, starting in January 2014 for pelagic fish, and for white fish stocks from January 2016. There was agreement in principle but there were complicated management procedures to discuss and implement. 

EU Fishing Rules

25 February 2013
A juvenile 2.3 metre long Risso’s Dolphin, Grampus griseus, was washed up dead amongst the rocks at Lamorna Cove in west Cornwall by members of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network.  As it was such a young dolphin it didn't carry the heavy scarring typically seen in older animals of this species. The sparse number of teeth, which are found only in the bottom jaw, helped to confirm the identification.

Risso's Dolphins are usually solitary or found in small groups and are widely distributed from the western areas of the English Channel to the north of Scotland.
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas (by Steve Savage)

23 February 2013
James Isbister struggled for 20 minutes to land a huge two metre long Ling, Molva molva, while fishing off Muckle Flugga, Shetland, It weighed 30 kg (67 lb) and is awaiting confirmation as a new British angling record. The current record fish weighed 27 kg and was caught in 1989.

 A line fishermen, Ingibergur G. Thorvaldsson, caught a Ling of 51 kg in 2009 off Iceland. 


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.


Dogwhelks feeding on a mussel.

Dogwhelks Nucella lapillus
Photograph (left) by Tabitha Pearman (Rainbow Nature) on flickr

Dogwhelks are a popular mollusc for intertidal studies. This is because they are a predatory gastropod usually only found between the tides, and also because they exhibit variations in form (different morphs) that can be easily observed. Colouring is variable in Dogwhelks, with dirty purple, white and orange specimens being most noticeable and with banded specimens occurring on some shores. The illustrated orange and white specimens have been noted before (by myself and others) on exposed coasts where mussel beds are not predominant. What is unusual about the illustrated finds are the raised ridges (=cords) and pimples on this shell. Most Dogwhelks are smooth shelled, or with cords without pimples. 

Dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus, feeding on a Mussel, Mytilus edulis
Photograph (right) by Andy Horton
BMLSS Dogwhelks
BMLSS Molluscs

Dogwhelks are active predators, preying on acorn barnacles by smothering them, and on mussels by boring a hole in the shell and sucking out the rich orange flesh.

Red seaweeds (Rhodophyta) are the most diverse and species rich group of seaweeds.

Red seaweeds come in all shades from orangey red to pink and can change colour when bleached in the sun or submerged underwater.
Growth forms vary between multi-branched fronds that arise from a stipe, to laminar transparent sheet like forms, to hard encrustations. Even a single species can exhibit a range of morphologies. For example Chondrus crispus can have a flat dichotomously notched frond (a bit like an antler), or, a thin narrow dichotomously branched frond.

There are over 350 species of red seaweed around the UK, many of which require specialized skills in taxonomy to identify.
Seaweed Glossary

Chondrus crispus and Mastocarpus stellatus
Photograph by Tabitha Pearman: Salty Scavenger (Rockpooling)
with a photographic guide to some common seaweeds.

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.

Snow in the Channel Islands

SE over Portelet Quarry

Portelet Quarry (first two) & St Brelade's Bay, La Moye, Beauport
on the island of Jersey
Photographs by Nicolas Jouault


13 March 2013
Portelet Quarry, south-west Jersey, is the warmest place in the British Isles on occasions. On this day it was one of the coldest and the Channel islands were battered by an unusual snow fall.

Jersey Geology Trail:  Quarries

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.

8 June 2013

Adur World Oceans Day
Family event. Find out what lives in the sea and seashore, with live lobsters and crabs, a rock pool aquarium, whale and dolphin exhibition, touch table and activities for children.

The thirteenth Adur World Oceans Day 2013 will take place in the marquee on Coronation Green, by Shoreham Footbridge at the High Street end on the second Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell of the British Marine Life Study Society presented the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB) took an active role with their display of the wonders of Shoreham Beach. Wildlife writer Steve Savage presented the whale and dolphin exhibition with the life sized replica of a Bottle-nosed Dolphin.

World Oceans Day on Facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day

The footbridge will not be open by then so the access is only available from the Star Gap Hard western end. 

Participation is inclusive and any other environmental, wildlife, marine-based, community groups, horticultural clubs, heritage societies, schools, lifeboat groups etc. on the education-based theme (no selling) is invited with advance pre-booking. Interactive activities get preference for the space available. Stalls with an electrical supply (enough to run computers) is provided free of charge for participants.

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. 
Click on the image for a review of this book

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
     31 March 2013
Copyright  2013   ©    British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs