Marine Life News Bulletin

September 2015

     ISSN  1464-8156

Mediterranean Gull (Photograph by Jean-Paul Charteris)
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 main news page for 2014
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

9 September 2015

Fractured Limestone Cliff at Portland
Photograph by Diana Sergent

If you look closely at the photograph, you will realise why the footpath is closed to the public. Large parts of the limestone cliff are imminently liable to collapse into the sea. 
Click on the image for more photographs by Diana Sergent. facebook

A large section of the cliff near Westcliff, on the Isle of Portland, on the Dorset coast suddenly crumbled into the sea. Ominous cracks on the limestone cliff had been seen for sometime before the cliff collapsed suddenly. The Jurassic Coast of Dorset is prone to erosion and landslides

Portland Geology
West Cliff Geology
Pictures of Portland  facebook

31 August 2015
Two Beluga Whales (=White Whale), Delphinapterus leucas, were spotted and videoed by Deb Powis off Warkworth Beach, on the Northumberland coast, north-east England.

28 August 2015
A vagrant Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus, made an extremely rare visit to Cornwall and this pelagic sea bird, widespread over tropical seas, was seen from Gwennap Head on the extreme southernmost tip of Cornwall for five minutes by a dozen birdwatchers. Reports of this bird occur less than once a year from over British seas. 

24 August 2015
A spectacular and very rare sighting of the a Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus, occurred over very deep water 250 miles off the Irish coast was made from the RRS James Cook on a a five week scientific expedition in the NE Atlantic. "The largest creature on the Earth surfaced from the murk of a deep-sea canyon, lingered just long enough for observers to grab a few pictures, and then vanished from sight into the fog and rain." This was only the fourth sighting in the seas surrounding the British Isles since these great whales were hunted to near extinction nearly a century ago.  The Blue Whale was spotted by the oceanographers over the Whittard Canyon which varies from 200 m to 4000m in depth and is an important little explored biodiversity route from the very deep sea to the Continental Shelf. A previous scientific sonar record had discovered the presence of Blue Whales off Fastnet in 2000. There were twenty Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalus, including seven seen around the research vessel when the Blue Whale surfaced. The survey team also recorded a Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, several hundred metres below the surface using ROV Isis

Blog of the Expedition
Submarine Canyons
Previous Sighting 2012
BMLSS Cetacea

22 August 2015
A shoal of over five hundred Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus, was spotted off the coast of Cornwall. The shoal was spotted by Duncan and Hannah Jones who described the sea as heaving with these large predatory fish. British fishing vessels would not be allowed to target this protected species but French or Spanish vessels might be able to land them legally. A shoal of this size has not been seen for over 50 years. Tunnies, or Tuna, used to be  found in sufficient numbers to make the North Sea, especially off Scarborough, an area famous for captures of the massive Blue-fin Tunny. Their current decline since the early 1960’s was because of low recruitment rates (whether natural or because of overfishing).

BMLSS Tunnies

c 20 August 2015
A 1.5 metre (5 ft) long Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was seen off St. Bees Head, Cumbria, during assessment work for a new nuclear power station planned to be built in the area.

BMLSS Turtles

17 August 2015
A rather unusual sea bird encounter occurred over Agger, Denmark, when a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles, Haliaeetus albicilla, attacked a vagrant Black-browed Albatross, Thalassarche melanophrys, which managed to escape predation.

16 August 2015

Angel Shark
about to be returned to the sea
Photographs by Michael Griffiths

A large two metre long (including the long tail) Angel Shark, Squatina squatina, was caught by Michael Griffiths on road and line off Shell Island, north Wales. This very rare and protected shark is thought to be extinct in the English Channel and still extremely rare in Cardigan Bay.

Previous Report 2015
BMLSS Squatina  facebook

30 July 2015
A Beluga Whales (=White Whale), Delphinapterus leucas, was spotted and videoed by George Watson swimming close to shore near Dunseverick, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This Arctic species is rarely (one every three years) recorded around the British Isles. (Not all records are shown on the BMLSS News pages.)

Previous BMLSS Report 2005


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

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

British Marine Life Study Society
facebook Page:

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

Montagu's Blenny
Coryphoblennius galerita 

Newquay Headland, Cornwall (T R Daguerre 2015)

"Clearly able to see the fringed flap between the eyes on this individual and the blue spot patterning, restricted to the south west in British seas, this fish is a specialist living on the intertidal zone in areas where Acorn Barnacles, its main food source, have taken hold."

Hydro Motion Media


Index to Marine Life Videos

BMLSS Blennies

Click on the images for the original photographs or links to more images


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 1 Mb in size.

Photograph by Gerald Legg

By the 1980s it became clear that we knew relatively little about our marine life and habitats. Just what is under the sea? Netting, dredging, grabbing, trawling and other indirect methods had provided us with a great deal of knowledge of what we have around our shores. Then came scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), developed by Emile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1943. The development and refinement of the equipment gathered pace making it possible for amateur divers to explore shallow inshore waters. In 1953 the British Sub Aqua Club was founded, bringing together enthusiasts and developing the skills required to be able breath underwater. It became clear that the ‘aqua lung’ had opened up a whole new opportunity to learn about and understand the animals, plants and communities around our coast. As a result our understanding of marine life exploded.
Dr. Gerald Legg

seasearch history

Click on the images for the original photographs or links to more images

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







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 2015
Please join the facebook group for free. Formal membership of the Society has ceased.  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.


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.

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors
     21 September 2015 
Copyright  2015   ©    British Marine Life Study Society
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs