Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the fauna and flora of the NE Atlantic Ocean

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For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below:

SUMMER 2007 Link to the News Reports, October to December 2006



16-17 November 2007
Marine Conservation Society Conferences
"Future for Sustainable Seafood", Friday 16 November
MCS Annual Conference "Oceans 2007", Saturday 17 November
Both events at "Action Stations", Royal Naval Dockyard, Portsmouth


24 November 2007
Striped Blenny (Photograph by Dawn Watson)We saw a Striped Blenny, Parablennius rouxi, (? ID) off Plymouth. We dived at 50° 17.363N and 004°  00.187W out of Fort Bovisand. It was a flat sandy bottom with low (1 metre) rocky ridges covered in mixed animal turf at between 22 metres and 24 metres in depth. There were loads of sponge species and quite a few pink seafans and Imperial Anemones, Aureliania heterocer
This blenny is a Mediterranean species and this would be the first record off the British coast. 
The ID is not clear. It could be the Variegated Blenny Parablennius pilicornis. The head tentacles and subsequent observations make this other southern species more likely. 

Report and Photograph by Rob & Dawn Watson with Sally Sharrock

 UK Diving » Plymouth » Diving from Bovisand

The long standing (since 1987) UK shore caught Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, angling record (19 lb) was broken by a fish that weighed 8.95 kg (19 lb 11 oz 12 dr) caught by local angler Steve Cave at Sandown Pier, Isle of Wight. 

British Sea Fish Angling Records

21 November 2007
A five metre long Thresher Shark, Alopias vulpinus, was landed at Newlyn Fish Market and was caught by skipper Roger Nowell of The Imogen whilst trawling for squid and John Dory off Land's End. It weighed weighed  510 kg (1,125 lb) and was the heaviest on record landed at Newlyn. Comparatively, the angling record fish weighed 146 kg. Commercial fishermen have landed Thresher Sharks up to 400 kg before. 

> 21 November 2007
A massive swarm of billions of jellyfish known as Mauve Stingers, Pelagia noctiluca, covering several square miles and to a depth of 11 metres, wiped out Northern Ireland's only Salmon farm, killing more than 100,000 fish at Northern Salmon Co. Ltd. The Salmon were kept in two large nets about a mile off the coast of the Glens of Antrim, north of Belfast.  The Salmon hatchery is on Glenarm River deep within the Castle Estate and the smolt were transferred by helicopter to pens in Glenarm Bay. The extent and size of the jellyfish swarm was unprecedented. 

Photograph of a small Pelagia noctiluca washed up by Darrell Campbell 

3 November 2007
The first swarms of thousands of the Mauve Stingers, Pelagia noctiluca, appeared off the surfing coast at at Hornish Point, South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Their sting was a bit nippy but not as bad as the larger brown jellyfish we normally get and they made me come out in a raised rash on my hands and face which stung long after I was dry.
Full Report

Report from Daniel Skivington
BMLSS Jellyfish

16 October 2007
Large Helford Sea Hares
Tony Sutton was diving on the eelgrass bed at 5.7 metres depth in the Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area, Cornwall, when he came across some exceptionally large greenish brown sea-hares (35 cm) which attracted his attention. When he returned a few days later with his camera he was able to take some excellent pictures which indicated the species Aplysia depilans. Confirmation of this identification was established by Dr Paul Gainey when one of the animals was taken briefly from the water. 

Full Report and Photographs on the Helford VMCA News web pages

14 October 2007
Aplysia fasciata at the National Marine Aquarium
A specimen of 30 to 35 cm and weighing 1.5 kg was caught in Poole Bay, Dorset, just outside of Poole Harbour in a trammel net by John Green of the FV. Serendipity. It was caught in 3 - 4 metres of water on sand on a flooding tide, while fishing for sole and bass. Subsequently a further four large sea hares have been caught by fishermen in the same area.
It was brought into the National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth where it is now on show as our "Feature Creature" in our recently refurbished Shallow Waters, Hidden Depths exhibit, where it is devouring very large quantities of sea lettuce Enteromorpha latuca.
Previously, only six specimens of this southern species of sea hare have been recorded in British seas. 

Sea Hare (Photograph by Steve Potter)

Sea Hare, Aplysia fasciata

Aplysia, the size if which (between 30 & 35 cm) indicates that it is Aplysia . fasciata. It was photographed swimming in Helford River, Cornwall. It was seen by Steve Potter on 25 August 2007

Information from Stella Turk MBE

Aplysia fasciata is the largest and the rarest of the three species of sea hare found in the British Isles. 

BMLSS Molluscs
BMLSS Aplysia

12 September 2007 
Working from a survey vessel south-east of Suðuroy in the Faroe Islands (north of Scotland), we witnessed 40 Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, plus 10 unidentified large whales (probably more Fin Whales) and one Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. This was over the course of a sail line some 50 miles in length. We thought we also saw a Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis. 
I am sure there are other places in the world that this spectacle occurs, but this area seems to hold a staggering number of these huge cetaceans. I have only encountered such numbers once before, in 2002 and in the same region.

BMLSS Cetacea

10 September 2007
We were hauling monkfish nets about 20 miles out to sea off Cornwall when a grey strange worm-like creature came up through the net hauler, it had wrapped itself up in the net. It looks like something out of X-files for sure. It had no real visable eyes or mouth. After initially wriggling round frantically for a couple of minutes; it played dead. After taking a couple of photographs with my phone, I scooped it up with the trusty shovel and flipped it over the side. It promptly swam away in an eel or snake-like fashion. It was about 60 cm long.

Report and Images by Sharpshooter on the World Sea Fishing Forum

The Nemertean "worm" was identified by myself and Richard Lord (Guernsey) of the genus Cerebratulus. 
More notes

5 September 2007
An astonishing 462+ Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen in the morning between Longships and The Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland!  Accompanying the sharks were many Gannets, suggesting that fish and plankton would have been present. Also, in much the same place (10 km sq. SW 33) between 20 and 24 Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus griseus, and 35 Common Dolphins Delphinus delphis, were recorded.

Report by Martin Eliot (Sennen, Cornwall) via Stella Turk MBE
on the Cornish Wildlife Mailing List
BMLSS Basking Sharks

20 August 2007
An Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana, was caught by an angler from a boat at the entrance to Chichester Harbour, Sussex.This southern fish is rarely caught in British seas and was probably the very first one recorded and identified (by Dr. William Smith-Vaniz) in the seas off Sussex. 
Two more Almaco Jacks have been caught since the above one, one from Grand Rocque Bay on the west coast of Guernsey on 29 August 2007 and another from just off Crantock in north Cornwall by Newquay fisherman Phil Trebilcock at the beginning of September 2007

Chichester Report by Chris Tett (Weymouth)
Reports and Information collated by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
BMLSS Seriola Jacks

10 August 2007
Mark Guppy clearly spotted a Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius*,  that jumped out of the water about 800 metres from the Condorferry beyond Old Harry Rocks about five miles off Poole Harbour, Dorset, in the English Channel. (*Species assumed without precise identification.)

BMLSS Swordfish

20 July 2007
Fisherman Pip Farline landed a 3 metres long Thresher Shark, Alopias vulpinus, that had become entangled in his salmon nets, 200 metres off Filey, near Scarborough, Yorkshire. Thresher Sharks are a pelagic species that are occasionally seen inshore in the English Channel, but are much rarer in the North Sea and the last one reported from off the Yorkshire coast was over 80 years ago. The length includes its abnormally long tail that it uses to strike or thresh fish. 

BMLSS Sharks

8 July 2007
For the first time in 10 years, with an incredible 300+ Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, were seen in the outer southern Moray Firth in NE Scotland along the Southern Trench on our Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, survey. 

BMLSS Cetacea

15 June 2007
We have discovered what appears to be a mature female "berried" specimen of the Slipper Lobster, Scyllarus arctus,  from SW Ireland. It was taken in a lobster pot. We have kept it alive in a tank in Dingle Oceanworld.
This would appear to be the first record of this species from Irish waters. Records from off Cornwall are rare with about 27 records off Cornwall (mostly around the Isles of Scilly ) and off Plymouth (Devon). 

Previous Report
2001 Report and Notes (by Doug Herdson)
British & Irish Public Aquaria List

2 June 2007
Adur was one of the UK leaders in presenting an environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day, Shoreham-by-Sea, with exhibits hosted by local experts and enthusiasts of the undersea world. Live lobsters and crabs, a rock pool aquarium, the whale and dolphin exhibition, a touch table of strandline exhibits found on the shore and other interactive displays was on display under the marquee on on Coronation Green overlooking the River Adur by the Footbridge

Adur World Oceans Day was run by a committee comprising representatives of the British Marine Life Study Society, West Sussex County Council, the Sea Watch Foundation, Friends of Shoreham Beach, Friends of Widewater Lagoon, Shoreham Greenpeace and other groups, with support from Adur District Council
Porania Cushion Star and Sunstar Common Hermit Crab, Pagurus bernhardus

28 April 2007

Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Ray Fallaize caught a record Couch's Sea-Bream, Pagrus pagrus, on rod and line from a boat in Guernsey waters. His capture has been accepted by the British Record Angling Committee. It weighed 6 lb  9 oz  7 drams (3 kg).  Its total length was 560 mm and fork length was 495 mm.

Report and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Full Report
British Sea Angling Records
Sealord Photography

21 April 2007
A Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was seen near the Lizard, Cornwall, swimming out to the Point.

Click on the picture for more excellent shark photographs by Seb de Grange

Basking Shark
Photograph of 10 July 2006 by Seb de Gange

Shark Report by Seb de Gange

March 2007
A Deal Fish, Trachipterus arcticus, was captured  by the Dingle-based trawler Rosses Fisher fishing at a depth of only 50 metres off the Blasket Islands (SW Ireland). It the first recorded landing of one from the Dingle Bay area in over 35 years.

Later Report

March 2007
Fishermen out of Shoreham Harbour (Sussex) continue to capture a handful of the Short-snouted Seahorses, Hippocampus hippocampus, in the nets on every trip out. They are all returned to the sea.
BMLSS Seahorses

11 February 2007

Photograph by Marion Moore
Thousands of Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, were washed up dead and alive on the north-east coast of England after being blown in by easterly winds. I received an unprecedented eleven reports. 
Multiple Reports Page
BMLSS Pipefish

31 January 2007
A commercial fisherman landed a rare Fan Mussel, Atrina fragilis, caught in 100 metres of water somewhere south-east of Sark (to the east of the Longue Bank) in the Channel Islands. 

27-28 January 2007
After the gales even more (at least seven over the weekend) reports of Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, were received from the east coast of England from Northumberland to Essex. Some were washed up dead and others were returned to the sea alive.
BMLSS Pipefish

21 January 2007
The huge 276 metre long container vessel Napoli was deliberately grounded one mile off Branscombe Bay, Lyme Bay, Devon, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The ship contained 1650 tonnes of fuel oil plus diesel and some of this leaked over the following days causing an oil slick several kilometres long and fatally oiling at least 600 sea birds, mostly Guillemots in the first four days. 

BBC News Reports:
Oiled Birds
Oil Slick

BMLSS Oil Disasters page

Cornish Marine Life Records 2006
Cornish Marine Life Records 2007 (Ray Dennis Records)

The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum


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