MARINE WILDLIFE REPORTS 1997
Reports received of Marine Creatures sighted,
stranded or landed during 1997
A list compiled by Raymond
A pod of 10 to 12 Bottlenose Dolphins were swimming around crab pots being
raised by a crabber off the South Penwith coast between Lamorna SW450240
and Gwennap Head SW366215. They stayed with the boat for well over an hour
and appeared to be very interested in the crab pots.
An Octopus was raised in a crab pot deep off
Lamorna SW450240. The main body part of the animal was 4" to 5" diameter
A pod of 6 to 8 Bottlenose Dolphins have spent the last week in St. Ives
Bay, mainly close inshore between Hayle and Gwithian Towans. They were
all juveniles of about 6ft long.
A report in todays 'Cornishman' says that a Common Seal pup which was found
in a poor condition at Marazion recently has been recovering from pneumonia
and lung-worm at Gweek Seal Sanctuary and is making good progress. When
fit enough it will be released into a Common Seal colony, probably near
the Wash on the east coast. Common Seals are rarely seen around Cornwall.
Hundreds of thousands of Cuttlefish bones were seen floating at sea over
a vast area between Newlyn harbour and Mullion.
A Seahorse brought up from 170ft
in a crab pot off Jersey is suffering a form of 'Bends' (decompression
sickness) in an aquarium at Exeter where it is receiving medical attention.
It is hoped to breed from the Seahorse if it recovers.
It is reported that a quarter of £1M worth of Cuttlefish have been
landed at Newlyn Market this week.
By the end of January 30 dolphin carcasses have been found on west country
beaches. 5 in Devon and the rest in Cornwall and on Feb 1st the 31st was
found on a beach between Newlyn and the quarry towards Mousehole. This
is even worse than the number of last years strandings, and pôst
mort'ëm examinations have found no cause for the deaths and
most carcasses had signs of net damage and so they are considered to be
A tall fin about 4ft high appeared beside a Newlyn Crabber at 0800hrs just
outside St.Clements Island mousehole SW476261. From the description it
could only have been an Orca or Killer Whale. It slipped beneath the surface
but reappeared briefly just once more.
5 or 6 Bottlenose Dolphins were seen close inshore just outside Penzance
harbour SW483296 during the late afternoon. They were playing around the
Penlee Lifeboat which was on an exercise at the time.
2 Octopus were brought up in a crab pot off Lamorna during the day. The
main body part of each animal was 4" to 5"Diameter.
A young Harp Seal, discovered by a fisherman
in Poole Harbour in January was in a poor condition, but has been recovering
in the Gweek Seal Sanctuary. It's natural home is Baffin Bay or the Labrador
Sea so it was some 2000 miles off course. It will be released later in
the year from an Oil Platform north of Scotland.
A pod of about 6 Bottlenose Dolphins were seen a few hundred yards off
Penzance harbour mouth early in the evening.
A pod of about 12 Bottlenose Dolphins were seen heading toward Marazion
from the Long Rock SW498308 at 1930hrs.
A pod of about 6 Bottlenose Dolphins were seen heading north westward off
Porthleven SW625254 at 1100 hrs.
A pod of about 6 Bottlenose Dolphins were seen proceeding from Cudden Point
SW548275 toward The Greeb SW280290 at 1500 hrs. Probably the same pod as
the preceeding entry.
Two cetaceans were seen off Slinke Dean SW462245 at about 0800 hrs. One
was considered to be a Pilot Whale and the other was described as being
very pale almost white, possibly a Risso's. Risso's dolphins are known
to associate with Pilot Whales and have been seen locally as one of a pair
with a Bottlenose Dolphin on two occasions.
A large pod of dolphins were seen off The Runnelstone SW370201 during the
day. Dolphins were reported jumping out of the water in all directions
and numbering well in excess of 100 animals. Not identified, but all small
animals and probably Common Dolphins.
A Basking Shark was seen off Porthcurno SW390220 at about 2 p.m. It was
seen from a passing dive boat but was too far away to estimate size.
A pod of Bottlenose Dolphins moved into St.Ives Bay on Friday 16th and
stayed for the weekend. Divers made a video tape of them on the Sunday.
Estimated number in the pod was 20 several of which were juvenile. One
of the large males had quite severe scaring from some accident, probably
collision with a propeller, resulting in some deformity.
A basking Shark was seen approximately 1½ miles east of the Runnelstone
SW370201. Divers entered the water and it came close to the R.I.B. ( Rigid
Inflatable Boat) and proved to be longer than the 6M.R.I.B. by about one
Metre. It had white scars on the back near the tail.
A Sunfish was seen basking on the surface off
Slinke Dean SW465245 at about midday.
Two Basking Sharks were seen swimming at the surface about 1 mile off Lamorna
SW455235. They were each about 10 to 12ft long.
A Basking Shark was seen feeding at the surface off The Greeb, Mounts Bay
SW530285 during the morning. The shark was not more than 10ft long.
Numerous Aurelia aurita jellyfish were seen in Mounts Bay during
the early part of this week.
A pod of Bottlenose Dolphin have been coming into St. Ives Bay with each
high tide during the past week. A diver swimming with them reported that
one juvenile with the pod did not appear to be a Bottlenose Dolphin, for
it had a bulbous forehead and very short beak more like a Pilot Whale.
( This may have been a Harbour Porpoise?)
Divers saw an 8 to 9ft shark above them near The Runnelstone SW370201 at
about noon. The divers were at a depth of about 30ft on their way up when
the shark swam by about 20ft above them . Described as having a rounded
rather than a pointed snout as seen from below, it could have been a Tiger
Quite a large pod of Bottlenose Dolphin were seen heading north eastwards
past Penzer Point SW466249 at mid-morning when the dolphins started jumping
out of the water and there was quite a bit of excitement in the pod, this
was probably a feeding frenzy for there were Mackerel fishing boats in
A small pod of up to 6 Bottlenose Dolphin were seen in Mounts Bay off Penzance
harbour early in the evening.
Bottlenose Dolphins spent much of the day in Mounts Bay. Late morning they
were seen of the Long Rock area and later in the day they were playing
excitedly, many of them somersaulting out of the wateroff Penzance harbour
until nearly dark. There were about ten in the pod.
The Bottlenose Dolphins were seen again off Penzance Harbour during the
The Bottlenose Dolphins are still in the same area off Penzance harbourand
were seen there again during the morning.
A rare Harp Seal has been recovering in the Gweek Seal Sanctuary during
the past month.. Its natural home is the sea ice north of Iceland.
A Basking Shark was seen close inshore near The Armed Knight near Land's
End SW341246 at about noon. It was reported as being about 10 to 12ft long.
An Electric Ray Torpedo nobiliana was landed at Newlyn Fish Market earlier
A 10ft Basking Shark was seen feeding off Penberth SW406200 at 1300hrs.
A large number of Basking Sharks were seen feeding in an area 12 miles
north of St.Ives. approx position SW520600. One shark in a group of four
was 24ft plus in length and the others were each about 20ft long. Another
group of three were all about 20ft long, and others scattered around the
area ranged in size from 12ft to 20ft. There was considered to be at least
20 sharks in total. Divers who went into the water with them said that
the sea was thich with plankton.
A Basking Shark was seen 2 or 3 miles east of Lamorna approx position
SW500240. It was about 9ft long.
A Basking Shark was seen about 2 miles off St.Ives Island approx. position
SW520445 at 1800 hrs. The shark was about 14ft long.
A dolphin which had become stranded at the mouth of Hayle harbour was rescued
by the R.S.P.C.A. and volunteers and guided back to sea. There is a team
of volunteers set up in the area by various organisations such as the R.S.P.C.A.:
Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Gweek Seal Sanctuary, and Coastguards that can
respond to such emergencies within 2 hours.
A pod of about 9 or 10 Pilot Whales were seen between 2 and 3 miles west
of the Wolf Rock Lighthouse in the western approaches at about midday.
They were reported as being very large, at least 20 ft in length.
A dead Leatherback Turtle was seen floating well of Lamorna. If the wind
prevailing at the time continued for another 24hrs the turtle would probably
become stranded between Perranuthnoe and Praa Sands. The state of decomposition
suggested that it had been dead for quite some time. It was about 6ft long.
A pod of about 10 or 12 Porpoises were seen off the Eastern Isles, Isles
of Scilly during the day.
A huge school of Mackerel was seen in St. Mary's Sound, isles of Scilly.
They were at the surface and the sea appeared to be boiling over an area
several hundred yards wide and from half to one mile long
On a boat trip from the Isles of Scilly to the mainland in slightly choppy
seas a dozen or more Sunfish were seen swimming vigorously at the surface
at various places. If that number could be seen from a small boat in those
conditions during one crossing it seems likely that there were a very large
number in the western approaches that day.
The carcass of a 20ft Long Finned Pilot Whale was washed upon a beachin
south east Devon today.
A Turbot landed at Newlyn this week fetched £100 on the market.
A huge crab was trawled up from a depth of 70 fathomsat the Labadie bank
south of Ireland earlier this week by MFV Sharon Corinna PZ399. It was
kept alive, landed at Newlyn and taken to the Newquay Sealife Centre. The
crab, Paramola cuvieri is similar to the Spider Crab but has a span
of more than 3ft across the claws although the body is not much larger
than the Spider Crab. Only two others have ever been caught in Cornish
A pod of at least 30 Porpoises were seen chasing fish in Mount's Bay approximately
half way between Lamorna and Porthleven at midday.They were travelling
very fast at the surface but none were observed to jump out of the water.
There were many Gannets present diving amongst the pod.
Three Bottlenose Dolphin followed the Steamship Scillonian III as she crossed
Mount's Bay on her way to the Isles of Scilly at 9.45 a.m.
The crew of the Brixham registered Trawler Lady T Emiel BM128 fishing out
of Newlyn and working grounds near the oil rigs in the Irish Sea this week
were confronted by a huge kicking, hissing, and snapping Leatherback Turtle
when they hauled their gear. After being measured at more than 7ft length
of carapace the turtle was tipped back into the sea.
The first casualty of the seal pup rescue season, a Common Seal pup, was
released back into the sea at a secret location on the south coast today.
It had been recovering at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary after falling off a
harbour wall at Southampton earlier this year. Eight other pups being cared
for at Gweek will not be returned to the wild until next spring.
It is reported that a fisherman has seen Fin Whales off Cape Cornwall in
the last few days. [ 2 were seen off Porthcurno on Dec 16th last year and
4 off Treen on Dec 29th]
A pod of dolphins were seen of the Gwithian and Godrevy area earlier
A pod of at least 6 Bottlenose Dolphins were seen off Sennen. The pod included
one white dolphin, probably a Risso's. A Risso's dolphin has been
seen on several occasions during the past few years associating with a
pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. This is probably the same one.
Porpoises have occasionally been seen by birdwatchers at Carn Gloose SW352312
during this month when trying to identify birds using a telescope. They
have been seen to surface near Gannets well off shore.
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