MARINE LIFE NEWS 2007

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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Autumn 2007

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SPRING 2007
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EVENTS:
 

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
 


LATEST NEWS: 

29 December 2007
A juvenile Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was discovered washed up dead at Ardnave on the island of Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, western Scotland. 

Marine Conservation Society
BMLSS Turtles

A Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, is spotted in St. Loy's Cove, south Cornwall, unusual so late in the year. 

BMLSS Basking Sharks

15 December 2007
A Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, was discovered dead off the south Wales coast near Aberavon. The animal, which is about 4.5 metres long, was reported floating in the Port Talbot harbour area earlier in the day. It is probably the same whale that was seen alive one week earlier

Earlier Report

Ray Fallaize with the record Couch's Bream (Photograph © by Richard Lord, Guernsey)14 December 2007
Ray Fallaize caught a record Couch's Sea-Bream, Pagrus pagrus, on rod and line from a boat in Guernsey waters on 28 April 2007. His capture has been accepted by the British Record Angling Committee. It weighed 6 lb  9 oz  7 drams (3 kg)
Link to the Full Report & Photograph

Report and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography
British Sea Angling Records (boat)
BMLSS Couch's Bream
BMLSS Sea Breams

8 December 2007
A Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, was observed and photographed off Mumbles in south Wales. It came within 30 metres of the pier at Nab Rock. 

Report by Lyndon Lomax (Pembokeshire Birds Blogspot)
Gallery

Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, are rare in British seas, but have been observed more frequently in recent years. They can be identified by their large white pectoral fins. From a distance they resemble Fin Whales, but Humpbacks raise their tails before diving.
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas (by Steve Savage)
UK Cetnet (Yahoo Group)

24 November 2007
Striped Blenny (Photograph by Dawn Watson)We saw what we initiallly thought was a Striped Blenny, Parablennius rouxi, 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. The bait used was whole squid. The world shore caught angling record is 9.40 kg (over 20 lb). 

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 of the Imogen, Roger Nowell, whilst trawling for squid and John Dory off Land's End, Cornwall. 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. 

BMLSS Sharks
BMLSS Shark News

> 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. 

BMLSS Jellyfish
Research References for Pelagia noctiluca
Observer Scare article

19 November 2007
A Bearded Seal, Erignathus barbatus, was seen at Chanonry Point area on the coast of the Moray Firth near Inverness, Scotland, having been there for about two weeks. 
Link to a Photograph

Report by Farnboro John on the Bird Forum
BMLSS Bearded Seal page
BMLSS Seals

16 November 2007
I found a dead Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, on Balnakeil Beach by Durness (north coast of Scotland) last week, washed up following recent gales. It came in with thousands of little jellyfish. These jellyfish were very small and blew away quickly on the wind.
These were Mauve Stingers, Pelagia noctiluca. (AH)
 

Report and Photographs from Donald Mitchell


9 November 2007
A tidal surge threatened the east coast of England. Low pressure and strong winds caused the surge. Norfolk and Suffolk had eight severe flood warnings. High tide occurred at 7:41 am at Great Yarmouth where the surge waters caused minor flooding and at a few other places along the coast.


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.

A small Pelagia noctiluca washed up 
Photograph by Darrell Campbell 

Full Report

Report from Daniel Skivington
BMLSS Jellyfish
2002 Report

1 November 2007 
A large nine metres long whale was washed up dead in the Humber estuary. It was identified as a Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalis.


28 October 2007
A Quahog Clam, Arctica islandica, dredged up off the coast of Iceland was thought to be between 405 and 410 years old and the oldest animal* alive on Earth until it was killed. Researchers from Bangor University in north Wales said they calculated its age by counting rings on its shell. 
(*This may exclude cnidarians.)


22 October 2007

Ray's Bream (Photograph by Mark Missin)
A Ray's Bream, Brama brama, was found dead on the strandline at Snettisham RSPB, Norfolk. (Map reference TF 646 327)
Report & Photograph by Mark Missin
BMLSS Ray's Bream

At least four more Ray's Bream, Brama brama, were discovered washed up on the Norfolk coast in early November.

BMLSS Norfolk Reports
 
21 October 2007
A Red Band Fish,Cepola rubescens,was caught on rod and line in deep water from Plymouth sound breakwater.
This fish is an unusual angling capture. The Red Band Fish is a small fish, elongate like an eel, that lives in vertical burrows in mud. 
 
Report and Capture by David Wood


BMLSS Red Band Fish

Red Band Fish (Photograph by David Wood)

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.

Sea Hare, Aplysia fasciata 
Photograph by Doug Herdson

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)

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. It is an Atlantic species, found from the Channel to Angola (South west Africa and to Brazil) and also throughout the Mediterranean. It appears to reach its northern limit in Ireland and along the English Channel coast. 
It is one of the largest sea slugs in the world. The other two British species are the relatively common Aplysia punctata variable in colour and growing to 20 cm; and the rare Aplysia depilans with different shaped back lobes, brown or green and growing to a maximum of 30 cm. 


BMLSS Molluscs
BMLSS Aplysia
Sea Slug Forum Species List
 

7 October 2007

Seriola rivoliana (Photograph by Richard Lord)
Guinean Amberjack, Seriola carpenteri
Photograph  ©  by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
All Rights Reserved © RLLord
Sealord Photography

Guernsey commercial fisherman Rick Ferbrache netted a 826 gram Guinean Amberjack, Seriola carpenteri (originally though to be an Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana), off the north-west coast of Guernsey. Rick told me the fish was netted about 1.5 miles off Rousse at the Hoffet off Guernsey’s north-west coast in about 20 metres of water.

BMLSS Seriola Jacks

6 October 2007

6 October 2007
This attractive red Long-spined Bullhead, Taurulus bubalis, latched on to the bait on my friend's fishing line (without swallowing the hook) and was returned alive to the sea off Northern Ireland. This is a common fish, but  not so often coloured bright red. 

Reports and Photographs by Cathal McNaughton


4 October 2007
Ray's Bream, Brama brama, appear to have been relatively common off the west coast of Ireland this year. They are frequently taken by Spanish registered long-liners while targeting Hake. Almost five tonnes were taken off the north-west coast and landed into Killybegs by a single vessel. Another two tonnes were landed on 18 October 2007.

BMLSS Ray's Bream

> 4 October 2007
Two Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, around six metres long, were seen and they stayed around the Farnes Isles, NE England, for a week. Anthony Hurd, National Trust Warden, was quoted - "It's only the 17th occasion these large fish have been recorded in the North East and the first time around the Farnes." 

BMLSS Basking Sharks
 
 

Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas

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

 


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