MARINE LIFE NEWS  2008

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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EVENTS:
 

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages28-30 March 2008
The Porcupine Marine Natural History Society will be holding its annual meeting at Menai Bridge, Bangor, north Wales. There will be two days of talks (Friday and Saturday) followed by a field trip on the Sunday. The theme of hotspots is to enlighten the delegates to those locations or habitats that, through their natural (or otherwise) diversity of life, inspire biologists to investigate them.

Full Details
Booking Form
 

14 June 2008

Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
Admission: FREE
 
Adur will be one of the UK leaders in presenting an environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea, as part of the Adur Festival



LATEST NEWS: 

26 March 2008
After a recent bout of northerlies in North Wales I took the dog for a walk down on Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey and found all sorts of things washed up. 
Brittlestars (various species) were particularly abundant on the upper shore, with patches a couple of inches (or more) thick. Common Starfish, Asterias rubens,  were also very abundant, as a rough guess at 5-10 per square metre. Species such as the Sand Starfish Astropecten irregularis, Heart Urchin Echinocardium cordatum, Dead Men's Fingers Alcyonium digitatum, Masked Crabs, Corystes spp., and various sipunculids (Peanut Worms) were also washed up in considerable numbers, as were various shark and ray eggcases. Of the more unusual species, I found three Angular Crabs, Goneplax rhomboides, a small Conger Eel (approx. 50 cm long) and a dead Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax


BMLSS Mermaid's Purses

23 March 2008
 
Brittlestar (Photograph by Rupert Smith) Mixed Asterias and Sunstars (Photograph by Rupert Smith)

Over Easter, after some heavy storms with snow blowing in off the North Sea, I discovered hundreds of thousands of Razorfish, Ensis sp. (a bivalve mollusc), hundreds of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, lots of Sunstars, Crossaster papposus, and Brittlestars washed up on the sands of Holkham Beach.

Report & Photographs by Rupert Smith
BMLSS Echinoderms

Ratfish (Photograph by Peter McGrath)

A Ratfish, Chimaera monstrosa, was washed up on the shore at Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire on the North Sea coast of England. This deep sea fish is a frequent capture in the Pink Shrimp fishery of the North Sea. 

Report, Comments and Photograph by Peter McGrath on the Runswick Bay Blogspot
Full Report

The fish has probably been dead for some time causing it to lose its patterns. 
NB. This is the first report of a stranding on these Marine Life News pages. 
Image when Alive

18 March 2008
Plans to proceed with enabling powers in the Marine Bill to introduce a Sea Angling Licence have been scrapped for 2008.


16 March 2008
 
Photograph by Liz Morris Photograph by Liz Morris

Hundreds of the sea cucumber Thyone fusus, many exuding their guts and gonads as a response to the stress, were discovered washed dead on up on the shore Newborough in North Wales (only a few nautical miles from Dinas Dinlle). 

Report and Photographs by Liz Morris (Marine Ecological Solutions Ltd


BMLSS Echinoderms
BMLSS Beachcombing

12 March 2008
After the stormy weather, a dead Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was discovered by Roger Adams walking on Wanson Beach, near Widemouth Bay, north Cornwall.

BMLSS Turtles
 
This large eggcase was discovered on my local beach (Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland).. The size can be discerned from the tennis ball. It is large enough to be the eggcase of the endangered Skate, Dipturus (=Raja) batis,
Report by Rosemary Hill
BMLSS Mermaid's Purses

4 - 5 March 2008
Hundreds of thousands of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, were washed on the shore of east Kent.
Picture Link


Thousands of Common Starfish were washed up on the coast of Kent between Pegwell Bay and Sandwich. 

3 March - May 2008 onwards
A Bearded Seal, Erignathus barbatus, was spotted at Loch na Keal on the Isle of Mull, a large island in the Inner Hebrides, western Scotland. The healthy seal had hauled itself up on to some dry rocks when it was first seen. Subsequently, it has been unpredictable in its movements. The Bearded Seal was first seen by David Woodhouse (Mull Wildlife Expeditions) on 3 March 2008.
Photograph by Rob Baxter
Report by David Sexton (RSPB, Mull)


3 March 2008
hexapus, or six-legged version of the Lesser or Curled Octopus, Eledone cirrhosa, was captured in a lobster pot off the coast of north Wales and put on show at the Anglesey Sea Zoo. It was only then it was discovered to have only six legs instead of the normal eight, and this may have a result of a birth defect rather than an accident. It was been claimed as a world's first as nobody seems to discovered one before. Its fame meant it was transferred to the Blackpool Sea Life Centre to attract a bigger audience. 

BMLSS Octopuses
BMLSS Public Aquaria List (British Isles)

Spiny Seahorse (Photograph by Robert Jones, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, U.K.)26 February 2008
The Angel Shark, Squatina squatina, Short-snouted Seahorses, Hippocampus hippocampus, and Spiny Seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus (=H. ramulosus), will gain protection against being killed, injured, or taken from the wild from 6 April 2008 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
In addition, the possession or selling of the the Short-snouted and Spiny Seahorsesí will become an offence. It will also become an offence to damage or obstruct the Short-snouted and Spiny Seahorsesí place of shelter or disturb them in their place of shelter.

BMLSS Seahorses
Angel Shark: Red List of Endangered Species

23 February 2008
Two Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaengliae, were seen from the French coast off Le Portel near Boulogne-sur-Mer at the eastern end of the English Channel. 

UK Cetnet Yahoo Group

18 February 2008
A 6.2 metre long baby Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalis, was discovered washed up dead on a beach on the Lizard, south Cornwall. Local resident Derek Chapman had watched the whale swimming back and fore just off the beach at Porthallow the day before it stranded. He was very concerned to see it come in so close to the shore and realised that this was unusual.  He later found it dead among the rocks.
Fin Whales are the second largest animal on earth and only eight stranded animals have been recorded in Cornwall, the first in 1781.

BMLSS Cetacean News Reports
Fin Whale (Cornwall 1999
Fin Whales Strandings Index 2004
Fin Whale washed up dead on the Isle of Wight 2007

15-22 February 2008
A Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, seen swimming in the northern Irish Sea off Portaferry, Northern Ireland at the first date was eventually washed up dead. It weighed over 200 kg.


3 February 2008
A dead juvenile Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, beached alive at Putsborough on the north Devon coast. It was rescued from the cold British seas and transferred to the Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay, Cornwall. To the amazement of the discoverers Diana and Pauline Bussell, a little blue crab crawled out from underneath the dinner plate-sized shell of the turtle. This turned out to the alien hitch-hiker known as the Columbus Crab, Planes minutus, which occasionally gets washed up on the shore with floating driftwood and other pelagic debris.

BMLSS Turtles
BMLSS Crabs

1 & 5 February 2008
Cuvierís Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris, was reported dead on Saligo Bay on the west coast of the Isle of Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides
Another one was reported dead on Machir Bay, Islay, and this time it was a female. It still had its tail flukes, dorsal fin and flipper intact but had not been dead as long as the previous stranded whale. 

 
Cuvierís Beaked Whale is a deep water species that feeds on squid and is rarely seen alive or dead in Hebridean seas. 
Islay Natural History Trust

31 January 2008 
A male Striped Dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba, a relatively uncommon sight in inshore Cornish waters, was stranded alive on an ebbing tide on the south coast at Church Cove, Gunwalloe, near Helston. The dolphin was lying on the beach not far from the surf.  At first sight, it looked relatively unscathed but it was later found to have a bad injury and was euthanased. This was only the 14th Cornish stranding record for this species of dolphin and only the second one stranded alive.

BMLSS Cetacea
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas (by Steve Savage)
Cornish Wildlife Mailing List
British Divers Marine Life Rescue

28 January 2008 
Guernsey commercial fisherman Rick Ferbrache brought me a Red Sea Bream (=Blackspot Sea Bream), Pagellus bogaraveo, caught off Portinfer Bay on the north-west coast of Guernsey.  It weighed 454 grams and was 32.6 cm long (total length).

Red Sea Bream, Copyrighted Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Red Sea Bream were common in Guernsey waters until 1984 and then they disappeared.  During the last year or so they have been making a comeback to Guernsey waters.

Report and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography

BMLSS Sea Breams
 

24 January 2008

Aplysia depilans (Copyright photograph by Richard Lord)

I discovered the southerly species of Sea Hare, Aplysia depilans, photographed above, a long way down the shore of  Belle Greve Bay shore on the east coast of Guernsey. The intertidal zone contained many more of the Common Sea Hare, Aplysia punctata, which comes inshore to breed in early spring. 

Report and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography

BMLSS Sea Hares
BMLSS Molluscs

21 January 2008 
 
Timber on Worthing Beach (Photograph by Vivlonsdale)

Dead Seahorse (Photograph by Craig Vernoit) on Brighton BeachTimber from the Greek-registered Ice Prince, which sank about 26 miles (42 km) off Dorset after a storm on 15 January 2008, began getting washed up on Worthing Beach in the evening of 18 January 2008 and and tonnes of pine planks littered the Sussex beaches from 20 January 2008. The usual debris was on the strandline including a dead Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, discovered by Craig Vernoit on Brighton Beach just to the east of the Marina. A Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, was washed up dead west of Brighton Marina
BMLSS Whales & Dolphins (by Steve Savage)
Adur Coastal 2008
BMLSS Seahorses


6 January 2008
A Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, was  found on the beach on the high tide line at Machir Bay, north west coast of Islay, Scotland. 

Discovery by Alistair MacCormick (Islay)
Triggerfish Reports 2008
BMLSS Triggerfish

5 & 14 January 2008
We have a report from Mr Meale who spotted what appears to be a Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola, found on Eccles Beach, Norfolk on 5 January 2008. A further report in the EDP published on Monday 14 January 2008 shows a picture of a Sunfish found on Sea Palling Beach, Norfolk.

BMLSS Sunfish

3 January 2008
A rare Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, was washed up at Porth Ceiriad on the Llyn peninsula, north-west Wales. 
Kemp's Ridley Turtles are listed as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union, with only 35 records of the Kemp's Ridley species in UK and Irish waters. According to the Marine Conservation Society the latest estimates suggest that only a few thousand adult females still nest on only one stretch of beach on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. 

BMLSS Turtles
MCS Kemp's Ridley Turtle

A Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, was washed up dead on the shore at Sheringham in Norfolk with a large 35 cm wound reminiscent of a predator attack. The jury is out on the cause of the wound which could be as a result of fishing activity. 

Report and Photograph on the Sun Newspaper Web Page
Discussion on the Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Yahoo Group
Large Shark 1968

The previous week in Kent we had a dead seal turn up with large wounds on it. They were circular and about 50 mm in diameter.

BMLSS Seals

1 January 2008
Another dead juvenile Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta,  was recovered by staff from the Islay and Jura Seal Sanctuary after it washed up near Ardbeg, on the island of Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, western Scotland. 

Marine Conservation Society
MCS Adopt-a-Turtle
BMLSS Turtles
 
 

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