of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents
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whale of over 30 tonnes is washed up dead
on the sandy shore of the bay of Audierne, between Tronoën and the
Torch, near Plomeur near Quimper, southern Brittany, France. Samples have
been taken by Oceanopolis, Brest (Public
Aquarium) who identified the species as a Fin
physalis, that had recently died and measured 19.5 metres in length.
Morning News" Report
of thousands of dolphins was spread over
about two and a half miles off Nare Head, on the Roseland Peninsula, Cornwall.
The species involved is the Common Dolphin,
delphis, of all age groups including calves and mothers. Other small
cetacean species were possibly present. These superpods are a rare once
in a lifetime event around the British coast, but very large pods have
been seen off the Cornish coast in recent years, the previous
one occurring at the beginning of the year. The superpod was accompanied
by hundreds of sea birds including Guillemots
and Gannets feeding
Pods of Dolphins off Cornwall in January 2003 (1)
Pods of Dolphins off Cornwall in January 2003 (2)
whales swam along the Dutch coast near Scheveningen. They were identified
as Humpback Whales,
novaengliae, from the photographs.
novaengliae, were seen near The Hague (Den Haag), Zuid-Holland.
They were discovered by the local department of the lifeboat association
who prevented the whales from swimming towards the coast. At dusk they
lost the animals near ´s-Gravenzande, some 10 kilometres south of
The Hague. The animals were estimated to be 8 and 18 metres long. They
were not seen by any of the local sea-migration watchers; the Humpbacks
were identified by the pictures made by one of the members of the lifeboat.
The identification was confirmed by Kees Camphuysen.
is the first record of living Humpbacks
for the Netherlands.
Report on UK Cetnet
(in Dutch) with links to Photographs
Record (September 2003)
on 20 December 2003,
a pair of Humpback Whales,
novaengliae, a male and a young whale, were caught in a fishing net
medium-sized Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus
thynnus, was landed at Plymouth Fish Market. It was caught about 24
nautical miles east of Lizard Point, SW Cornwall in a mid-water pair trawl.
Adult Bluefin Tuna are no longer caught regularly caught off England and
the last one on record was caught in 1968.
along the coast at Bovisand in Devon were treated to a rare sight as a
five metre long whale was temporarily stranded close to the shore in Heybrook
Bay. It has been identified as a Northern
Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus,
after originally being identified as a Pilot
Whale. The malnourished
whale was spotted by a walker, Steve
Blackhouse, who quickly rang the Coastguard.
Whales are rarely seen in the English Channel,
normally preferring in waters up to 1,000 metres deep, off the continental
Morning News" Report
Mammals of the UK Smart Group
Marine Life Rescue Report
Cornish long-line fishermen has caught a total 115
nasus, on two long-line fishery trips to
their feeding grounds off Cornwall. The largest one weighed 60 kg (132
lb), but is unclear if this was the weight before on after it was gutted.
It was two metres long, probably including the tail fin. These look like
a pre breeding stock of Porbeagles with females that do not attain maturity
until they are two metres in length. This mass capture has raised the ire
of environmentalists as the large species of sharks and even some of smaller
species like the Angel Shark,
squatina, are vulnerable to excessive fishing. In the 1960s the Newfoundland
fishery for Porbeagle was seriously overfished as ceased as a commercial
activity. Hundreds of Porbeagle Sharks are caught off northern France each
japonica was collected from crab pot rope off the south coast
of Guernsey by Clive Brown.
Colonies of this sea squirt live on fucoid seaweeds, pontoons and other
hard substrates. The small translucent zooids (approximately 4 mm long)
are budded from stolons and generally rather closely packed. Young parts
of colony are yellow or greenish-yellow.
ascidian was first recorded in the British Isles in Plymouth Sound in 1999.
It had been discovered on the French coast of Brittany a few years earlier.
There has also been a further discovery in the Fleet Lagoon, Dorset (near
large whale, initially identified as a Minke
Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata,
was reported floating 8 km west of Hoek van Holland. Subsequently, it was
decided to tow the whale out of the way. However, after an analysis of
several photographs by Kees Camphuysen,
the whale was identified as a Humpback
Whale, Megaptera novaengliae. This
the first record of this species in The Netherlands!
on Portland Wildlife News
outlandish and completely unexpected addition to the Portland Island (Dorset)
mammal list came today in the form of a
Harp Seal, Pagophilus groenlandicus,
that was found hauled out on rocks along the East Cliffs at the Bill during
the afternoon; it remained there for three hours before being flushed off
by the incoming tide.
Harp Seal is an Arctic species that is hunted (cf. culled) in the frozen
north of Canada.
(Organsation Cetacea) Report with previous sightings
Worthing (West Sussex), on a shallow water dive site known as the Worthing
Lumps, a small school of Rock Cooks (Small-mouth
were seen shyly swimming by the rock face, quite unlike the bolder Corkwing,
and Goldsinny Wrasse, Centrolabrus
inconspicuous wrasse have not been recorded off
the Sussex coast before and the books state that
is fish is only known from the southern and western coasts of Britain.
They may have been overlooked, but they are certainly not a common occurrence.
There have been no records of juvenile fish in Sussex rock
pools, where the Corkwing
first year fish are very common and Ballan
Wrasse, Labrus bergylta,
juveniles occasionally discovered.
whale skull was landed at Shoreham
(Monteum's Wharf, River Adur) from a small (under
10 metres length) trawler fishing three miles off Brighton Marina, Sussex.
Details and Photographs
whale skull was eventually identified as that of the Fin
Whale, Balaenoptera physalis.
Whale and Dolphin Watch
Watch Foundation organised the UK's National Whale and Dolphin Watch
Weekend, aimed at providing a snapshot picture of the numbers and variety
of whales, dolphins and porpoises to be seen around the British Isles.
Report and Photographs
Whales, Peponocephala electra,
became stranded alive near La Rochelle, western France (Charente-Maritime
département, Poitou-Charentes région) in the central coastal
area of the Bay of Biscay (latitude 46°). Both stranded whales were
helped back to sea, but one of them was discovered washed up dead on a
nearby beach on 29 August 2003.
When the live beached whales were discovered, neither was outwardly seen
to be ill or injured.
is the first record of this whale seen alive in European seas as this is
a tropical species that usually lives and hunts in large schools in the
dead specimen was an adult male that measured 2.43 metres long and weighed
123 kg (the other whale measured approximately the same length). This
is nearly its full size and
although they are called whales they are actually 30% smaller than Bottle-nosed
Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus.
potter Micky Guille captured an orange
gammarus, in 60 metres of water about ten miles south-west of Pleinmont,
south coast of Guernsey.
unusual lobster was kept alive in his vivier, until put on public display
in the Guernsey Public
Aquarium on 10 September 2003.
protection was introduced for the Darwin Mounds,
a deep water cold water coral reef off the north west of Scotland near
Rockall. The main coral species forming the rare and interesting habitat
is Lophelia pertusa but Madrepora
oculata is also known to be present. The protection forbids all fishing
and oil exploration in the area because of the damage such activities would
Offshore Habitats Protection
the same date, some more specimens were discovered on the Belgian coast
20 August 2003
specimens of the square-carapaced crab, Hemigrapsus
caught on the Belgian shore at Koksijde. This Japanese immigrant which
has been known from France (1994) and The Netherlands (2000), is a new
arrival for the Belgian carcinofauna.
Information on this crab
Black-faced Blenny page
delaisi, was discovered in a rockpool
at Les Écréhous, Jersey. This warm water fish fish is more
likely to be found in the shallow seas to the south of the English Channel.
It is a small secretive fish and although not a true blenny,
it hides in crannies and will rarely feature in fishermen or angler's catches.
However, diver's are beginning to see more of this attractive fish and
they have been reported notably from off the coast of Dorset. This is my
first record of this fish discovered on the shore. It was about 55 mm in
by Peter Glanvill (Dorset)
a few boat transects today we saw absolutely loads of the jellyfish, Rhizostoma
octopus off the Rhossilhi/Llangennith beach, Gower, south
Wales and further into Carmarthen Bay. I'm not even going to attempt a
number, but unless they were all stretched out in lines which corresponded
exactly with our transects there must have been tens of thousands.
LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON
HABITAT AND BIRDS DIRECTIVE
consultation is to look at increasing protection for important offshore
sites such as the Darwin Mounds, Nature Conservation Minister Ben Bradshaw
12 week consultation puts forward proposals to extend the protection afforded
to important species and habitats under the Birds and Habitats Directives,
which currently does not go beyond 12 nautical miles of the UK coastline.
ovigerous (with eggs) female Slipper Lobster,
Scyllarus arctus, was caught just off the Eddystone Lighthouse, south
Cornwall, by Looe-based fishermen Richard Chapman. This strange crustacean
is only a rare discovery in British seas, normally found in waters to the
south. However, it is now suspected there could be a small breeding population
off the coast of Cornwall. It measured 14 cm long and was identified by
the experts at MarLIN (Marine
Life Information Network).
exact date of capture was probably a few days before this newspaper report
in the Western
angling off Rotunda Beach at the base of Folkestone Pier, Kent, I caught
the following fish which I think is an Twaite
Shad, Alosa fallax. It was 38 cm (15 ") long and weighed 624
grams (1lb 6oz). (However, it is possible that this
species is the Allis Shad, Alosa alosa, as the only reliable method
of differentiating the two species is by counting the gill
along the side of the body present in the Twaite Shad were absent, but
these spots are often missing. (Andy Horton)
the scale pattern on the fish I am pretty sure that it is a Twaite Shad
and a spent one at that. (Miran
netting the River Hayle, Cornwall, at low water for sandeel bait, the first
sweep brought a mixed bag of Greater Sandeels,
lanceolatus, and Lesser Sandeels, Ammodytes
tobianus, plus quite a few Lesser Weevers,
unusual aspect was the large number of lice on the sandeel and free swimming
in the bunt. Whilst ejecting the Weevers we noticed one fish had two lice
stuck inside its mouth. My mate caught a louse and promptly let it go as
it bit him. They were about 8 mm long. At this size they are only half
the size of the adults.
are isopods (wood-lice) and expert Tammy
Horton has confirmed that they are the parasitic species Ceratothoa
to Thumbnail Images
massive bloom of plankton has turned the seas around the Shetland Isles
a turquoise colour, stretching at least 60 miles, almost the whole length
of the islands, from Yell the second most northern island to Sumburgh Head
the southernmost tip. The organism was the coccolithophore
huxleyi which is responsible
for vast blooms covering up to 40 thousand square miles of the oceans and
can be seen from a space shuttle. Blooms this large can change the climate.
This plankton bloom is non-toxic not thought to pose a threat to the salmon
farms on the Shetlands.
Book (see Chapter 6)
Report of a bloom off Cornwall
numbers of pelagic scyphozoan Pelagia noctiluca,
the Mauve Stinger
(small jellyfish), were spotted all along the east coast of Lundy, Bristol
Channel. I was participating in an English
Nature drop-down video survey and I found dense shoals of this beautiful
pelagic jellyfish. The density was probably in the region of 15 to 20 individuals
per square metre at the surface.
Swarms of this jellyfish are unusual in British seas.
Jellyfish page 2
(literally) of By-the-Wind Sailors,
velella, (a jellyfish-like animal) are being washed up alive to
perish on the shores of Cornwall, now reaching up the English Channel as
far east as Polperro and Looe. All
are very small, around 15 mm in length, and still have fleshy body parts
was on Charmouth beach in Dorset doing a little fossil hunting and suddenly
found myself lying (best way to find tiny crinoids etc) in a wreck of tiny
jellyfish. They had a bizarre transparent float and were a vivid blue being
only around 25 to 30 mm long. These are By-the-Wind
famous Boar Fish,
aper, died after its aquarium sprung
a leak in the middle of the night. (It was caught from the Sussex shore
at Hove in November 2002).
bathed in a heatwave up to
C for the opening of the Adur Festival and
World Oceans Day 2003 on Coronation
Green, Shoreham-by-Sea. About
3000 people attended the event that was steady and busy throughout.
Oceans Day 2003
am - 4:00 pm
Information File on Adur World Oceans Day
Information File on Adur World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day 2003 Images (by Ray Hamblett)
20 May 2003
of By-the-Wind Sailors,
velella, (a jellyfish-like animal) are washed up on Cornish beaches.
discovery of a Giant
Goby, Gobius cobitis, found in
a rockpool above the half tide mark at Les Écréhous, Jersey,
was a notable discovery. This goby is a protected
species under the Wildlife
and Countryside Act Schedule 5. It has
always been known from the shores of Jersey but it is virtually unknown
on the northern English Channel coasts with occasional records from Cornwall
only. As it name indicates this goby is a 'giant' amongst the Gobiidae,
a family of small fishes. The Giant Goby attains lengths of up to 25 cm.
has been observed discharging eggs in an aquarium. This method of reproduction
has been suspected but there have been no observations in print before.
in British Sea Anemones
Whale, Physeter macrocephalus,
of the year is washed up dead on the Norfolk coast. This time a 15 metre
long whale became stranded on an isolated sandbank on Stiffkey Marshes,
on the north coast of Norfolk.
Whale (First Report 2003)
20 February 2003
Fletcher struggled for 40 minutes to reel
a unique shore capture of the deep oceanic fish known as the Oarfish,
or Ribbon Fish, Regalecus glesne, off
the north-east coast of England at Skinningrove, Cleveland. This rare fish
caught on a squid bait came as a bit of a shock, even scary, as first the
head and then the whole length of its 3.3 metres emerged from the sea.
This elongate silvery fish, with red fins weighed in at 63.5 kg, which
actually meant it was rather a small one for arguably the largest, certainly
the longest bony fish in the mostly deep oceans (found down to 1000 metres)
attaining a normal length of 7 metres and a maximum of over 11 metres,
and a maximum weight of 272 kg.
unusual was this discovery that it ranks as perhaps the most unusual of
all records on these news pages.
alternative story is that the Oarfish became trapped in a net and was brought
ashore dead. This seems a more likely occurrence.
have serious doubts about the authenticity of this record and it is thought
that it could only be a Dealfish
Report and Discussion (Link)
117 cm pup long of a Bluntnose Sixgill
Shark, Hexanchus griseus, was landed
at Mevagissey, south Cornwall. The shark weighed 6.3 kg before gutting.
The Bluntnose Sixgill Shark
is principally a deep water species, usually found offshore and near the
bottom at depths of up to 1,800 metres. Young specimens can however
occasionally be found inshore in cold water at depths as shallow as 25
- 50 metres, especially near rocky coasts or islands where deep water occurs
Shark pups measure 65 cm - 70 cm at birth
and can grow up to at least 4.8 metres (over 15 ft) long. This grey coloured
sharks is unusual in that compared with most species of shark, they have
an extra pair of gills. Females are thought to have 22 - 108 pups per litter.
adult and one juvenile Humpback
novaengliae, are seen 100 metres off Cove, near Aberdeen, north east
Scotland. They swam slowly north past Girdleness breaching about one mile
offshore in Aberdeen Bay. This large whale is
regularly seen around the
Isles but rarely ventures further south.
A solitary Humpback
Whale was also seen the Firth of Forth
and this similar to one described recently from the Moray Firth so this
13 metre long whale may be the same animal that was seen in company off
around 3:00 pm to 4.30 pm,
I witnessed a very large pod of dolphins
swimming eastwards up the English Channel past Polperro, Cornwall. It was
impossible, even through my telescope, to firmly identify the species,
but there were a mix of (probably) Common
Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, and
phocoena. They were leaping from the water from about a half mile from
the coast to the horizon, and spread over the four miles or so that I can
see from my window. Numbers must have been
well over a thousand. A fantastic sight
to witness, and one I have not seen before in my nine years in Polperro.
Report of Huge Pods of Dolphins
level of oil pollution on Belgium's west coast worsened as more and bigger
oil slicks from the sunken vessel Tricolor
washed ashore and strong winds hampered clean-up operations. A spokeswoman
with a Belgian North Sea ecosystem management institute, BMM, said the
situation at Zeebrugge and Blankenberge had worsened since yesterday and
oil slicks several square metres in size were being washed ashore. The
Knokke-Heist Council also reported that oil clumps had polluted the beach
at Heist, but it was not yet certain whether the oil had infiltrated the
De Baai Nature Reserve. Oil has also washed ashore at Bredene, but the
town's Mayor, Willy Vanhooren, said the situation was not yet an environmental
Birds on Belgian beaches
Jellyfish & large Medusae
of By-the-Wind Sailor,
velella, are discovered washed up, alive or very freshly dead,
on Perranporth Beach, Cornwall, together with the Violet
Snail, Janthina janthina, (two
shells) that preys on Velella. This gastropod
is rarely recorded in British seas even when there are large numbers of
stranded. It is always worth looking for this attractive and fragile shell.
between 100 and 200 of the small jellyfish called Pelagia
noctiluca, the Mauve Stinger or
'Nightlight' jellyfish were also discovered.
These swarms seems to occur about every five or ten years, and is easily
recognised by the pustules that cover the small (rarely more that 75 mm
across) dome or umbrella.
of all three species of large
British cuttlefish, Sepia,
(a tiny mesopelagic cephalopod) shell were also found in the squally conditions
on the shore.
Goodall has also found large numbers of Velella,
on Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall.
14 metre long male Sperm
Whale, Physeter macrocephalus,
beached at the mouth of the River Ouse, near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, and died
as a result of the stranding. The dead whale was present on Brest Sands
in the Wash the following day when Rob
Deaville from the Natural History Museum performed a post-mortem. The
ultimate cause of the live stranding could not be determined but the animal
appeared to be reasonably aged (very worn teeth) so this may have played
a factor. This large whale is rarely stranded on English North Sea coasts,
with the first of the 20th century in 1986 and four records thereafter.
Whale (southern North Sea, stranded dead) 2000
metre long Minke Whale,
acutorostrata, is washed up dead on Shanklin
beach on the east coast of the Isle of Wight. This could be the same
whale that was spotted briefly stranded in Portland Harbour.
23 - 28 January
a period of five days, at least 2,000 oiled
birds have washed ashore on Belgian beaches,
especially between De Panne and Ostend and more are coming in.
majority of the birds are Guillemots,
but more than 100 Razorbills
were also washed ashore.
January 2003, the numbers are much greater
than this and oiled birds are being found over a wider range. On Dunkerque
(France) beaches we discovered 125 dead oiled birds (mainly Guillemot)
and only four survivors. The count for Belgium is over 2000 surviving birds.
live Green Turtle,Chelonia
mydas, was stranded on the west coast
of Guernsey (Channel Islands) in the afternoon. Elliot
Green, was playing
football with his young son, discovered the
turtle on Saline Beach and reported it to the Guernsey Society for the
Protection of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA).
Geoff George and Yvonne Chauvel (in the photograph) collected
the turtle, and after it had been treated by veterinarian John
Knight, transferred it to the Guernsey
Aquarium at St. Peter Port until arrangements can be made to release
it into the sea at a suitable location (preferably warm water). The
curved carapace length of the turtle is 75 cm and the curved carapace width
is 68 cm. This turtle inhabits tropical seas including the Atlantic coast
of Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. This turtle is only very rarely recorded
in British seas.
Marine Turtle Stranding Network
Turtle Information Page
and Dolphin Conservation Society
cetaceans, have been washed up on the
shores of south Cornwall this year, so that the recorders and helpers including
Ball of the Silver
Dolphin Conservation and Diving Centre at Porthleven, Cornwall can
hardly keep track of the 'tide' of carcasses. The dolphins have been in
the sea for long enough for them to start to decompose. They are all tagged
with with cable ties around the tail, so that if they wash out and re-beach,
they can be identified. At least some of them have probably been caught
in fishing nets.
January 2003 the number had risen to 55. Most
have been Common Dolphins (Delphinus
delphis), one was a Striped Dolphin (Stenella
coeruleoalba), Harbour Porpoises,
(Phocoena phocoena), number about 10, and several carcasses were
too decayed to be identified.
30 January 2003,
the number had increased to 77.
the Polperro (south Cornwall) bottom trawler "Girl Jane" reported an extraordinary
dolphin sighting whilst fishing some 13 miles west of Plymouth, and about
two miles offshore, they encountered a pod
of leaping dolphins estimated to be "many
hundreds", perhaps a thousand. The species was not identified. At the same
time they received a call on the radio from a sister ship fishing 10 miles
east off Rame Head that they were surrounded by at least two hundred dolphins
(obviously a different pod).
January 2003 Polperro trawler "Girl Jane"
(again) reported another huge pod of dolphins
and porpoises, whilst shooting nets some
20 miles off Rame Head. Trawler "Cazadora", three miles or so away at the
time also recorded dolphins. In both cases the number reported was "hundreds".
Also, the Plymouth mackerel boats off Eddystone reef stopped fishing as
they were catching dolphins rather than fish.
on the north-west coast of England are unusual, although there have been
specimens washed up on much more northerly Scottish islands. Even on the
south west coasts, reports in the year 2002
were reduced in numbers.
dog discovered a 25 cm (10 in) long Triggerfish,
capriscus, are washed up dead on the beach between Seascale and
Sellafield (Cumbria). I recognised the body shape and the shell crunching
type of teeth in the book.
27 December 2002
Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata,
spotted just before midday stranded on some rocks in Portland Harbour,
Dorset. The coastguards were called and they managed to push the whale
back into the water and it spent the rest of the day swimming around the
large natural harbour, but it has yet to be coaxed back out to the open
sea. This species of whale is rarely seen in the shallower parts
of the English Channel.
Report by Clive Martin (Biscay Dolphin Research Programme)
12 December 2002
Early in the
morning a young 8 metre long Humpback
novaengliae, entered the naval harbour of
Frederikshavn on the northern Kattegat coast of Denmark. It remained in
the harbour for the whole of the day and is believed to be feeding on the
shoals of small fish seen. This large whale is regularly seen around the
Isles but rarely ventures further south.
5 December 2002
In the last
few weeks 640 oiled sea birds have
been washed up on the East Anglian coasts of Suffolk and Norfolk. The source
of the oil has not been discovered, but it is believed to have been released
from an old wreck.
Television News Report
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