Marine Life News Bulletin

October 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
How to obtain the book and review



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

October 2013
Blackfish, Centrolophus niger, was caught in the North Sea by Andrew Innes, skipper of "Daisy 2". 

This Blackfish usually inhabits water of over 100 metres deep, and the North Sea is shallower. It is unusual, but not unknown, for Blackfish to be caught in the North Sea. Main sightings in catches are from off west Scotland and off Ireland in deeper waters. The facebook page includes a few other reports. It is classified in the family Centrolophidae.Nine specimens have been caught by fishermen from 1987-1996 and a few others since then.  Since the development of more deep sea fishing off Scotland they have become more numerous in catches.
The Cornish Blackfish, Schedophilus medusophagus, is very similar in appearance to the Common Blackfish. The last record for this latter fish is one caught off Ireland in August 1996 and brought into Newlyn, Cornwall(from Doug Herdson)
Earlier Report 1998
22 October 2013
Another fishbox found at Marazion, south Cornwall, had a liberal covering of the live stalked barnacle Lepas pectinata. I find quite a lot of these and they're a very common find at the right time of the year, and can be found on many types of objects washed ashore, from macroalgae, feathers, bottles, margarine containers and workman's helmets. The species is quite variable in its sculpturing and is noted to be white or bluish. Indeed a few of the specimens on the fishbox had a bluish sheen, and it's the first time I've seen this.  BMLSS Barnacles
Tubeworms on the fish box (images)
26 September 2013
A three metres long 234 kg (515 lb) Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus was landed caught and landed at Tarbert, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. 

25 September 2013
A large pod of Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus were spotted off the coast of Donegal, Ireland. There have been numerous reports of big fish jumping out of the water. One was caught by an angler and brought into Mullaghmore, County Sligo. This specimen weighed a massive 285 kg (628 lb).

The Western Atlantic stock of Bluefin Tuna is on the Red List as critically endangered. It is illegal to catch and land this species of fish in the UK. (It was landed in Ireland.) 

BMLSS Tunnies


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

Baillon's Wrasse, Symphodus bailloni
One of three caught in Poole Bay on 27 August 2013
Photograph by Andrew Cleave

A small Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus crenilabrus, from Teän, Isles of Scilly
Photograph by Andrew Cleave

It has always been a problem for me to distinguish these two species or even to decide that they are two different species. The upper photograph is the best example I have encountered that show the differences, most notably the black spot on the second part of the dorsal fin which is the reported definitive identifying picture of the Baillon's Wrasse, Symphodus bailloni, and the black spot preceding the caudal (tail) fin which is is seen on all free swimming examples of Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus crenilabrus.

If only it was that simple. The identification difference are compounded by several factors, namely:

Corkwing Wrasse asleep at night (young specimen)

(1) when the fish are captured on road and line or in a prawn net or when the fish is asleep at night, or when the fish is distressed, the markings change to a vertical barring which obscures both spots. This gives rise to the impression that there are two different wrasse species in the first place and distinguishing features cannot be discerned.

(2) many of the fish caught show markings that seem half way between the two and it is difficult to distinguish which species it is to such an extent that all photographs of Symphodus bailloni are open to doubt. The much commoner Corkwing Wrasse sometime has markings on the rear of the dorsal fin resembling the black spot in the upper photograph. Baillon's Wrasse is regarded as a scarce or local species. Sometimes it is reported with the black spot preceding the caudal fin as well. Even in the Corkwing sometimes this pre-caudal black spot appears to be missing after it has been caught. The wrasse will instantly change to the vertical barring when stressed but only gradually will its swimming markings return and sometimes there is a half-way stage. 

NB: in breeding livery in late summer, the colours of the Corkwing are exceptionally pronounced. The spots may then be obscured.

Remedy and requests:

There is a facebook discussion on the British Marine Life Study Society forum. We like to hear reports of the first fish and to receive photographs.

Link to the thread on the forum

Aquarium study could resolve the issue, but observations in the wild are appreciated as well, because the Corkwing builds nests and Baillon's Wrasse reportedly does not. Symphodus bailloni makes a dome like nest in soft sediment.

Text and opinions by Andy Horton
BMLSS Wrasse (British Seas)

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.

Fishing Vessels at Shoreham Harbour, Sussex
with Shoreham Power Station
Photograph by Andy Horton

28 - 29 October 2013
Over the night and morning, the south coast was battered by a Gale Force 8,gusting to Storm Force 10, with exceptional gusts of Hurricane Force 12 in exposed parts of the coast. The fishing fleet was moored up for two days and nights in ports all along the coast, including 20 of the the larger fishing vessels in Shoreham Harbour.

Storm at Dawn
Western Harbour Arm, Shoreham
Photographs by Mark Bond

Video by Mark Bond

Rolling Breakers at Southwick Beach
eastern Shoreham Harbour after the storm had receded
but still blowing a Force 8
Photograph by Andy Horton

Storm Portfolio at Shoreham
Shoreham Weather Reports 2013

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)

Links to the online fish key


Publisher: marine scotland

Scotland's Marine Atlas

Scotland's Marine Atlas is an assessment of the condition of Scotland's seas, based on scientific evidence from data and analysis and supported by expert judgement.

Click on the image for the free publication

Published: 27 March 2013 
ISBN (EPUB): 9781782564485 
ISBN (MOBI): 9781782564478 

EBook Reader Software (Adobe Digital Editions)
Change the font size to small for square monitors.


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

The fish is a Corkwing Wrasse
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
     30 October 2013
Copyright  2013   ©    British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs