MARINE LIFE NEWS 2010

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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Winter 2010

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EVENTS:

 

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Adur World Oceans Day 2010

Participation of other environmental groups are welcome for Adur World
Oceans Day 2010 in Shoreham-by-Sea. This is an interactive exhibition and all stalls need to be manned. Tables, chairs and an electrical supply are provided. To allocate
space, we will need to know of exhibitors in advance.

The date for this year is 5 June 2010. This will be the 14th consecutive year that this marine exhibition has been held in Shoreham-by-Sea.


LATEST NEWS: 

31 March 2010
A five metre long Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, was discovered alive on the morning low tide in the North Esk River estuary near Montrose, Scotland. By the time the high tide came in the late afternoon the health of the mammal had deteriorated and it had to be euthanased.

BMLSS Cetaceans

14 March 2010
Thousands of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, were washed up on the strandline on the shingle beach at Budleigh Salterton in south Devon (East Devon AONB). The line of washed up starfish stretched for over a mile.

Report and Photograph by Scott Eley

  Starfish at Budleigh Salterton
Photographs by Tony Herbert on flickr

Their usual residence would be feeding on the mussel beds offshore. From a previous occurrence underneath the chalk cliffs east of Brighton Marina, Sussex, it is my surmise that the mass migration occurs because the Common Starfish have exceeded their food supply offshore. Perhaps, this occurs because of commercial dredging of the mussels

Comments by Andy Horton
BMLSS Starfish
 

3 March 2010
A mystery silvery fish with red dorsal fins washed ashore dead on the Isle of Mull, western Scotland was discovered to be a  Dealfish (Ribbonfish family), Trachipterus arcticus. This deep water fish is uncommon at depths of over 180 metres and deeper and it is rarely washed ashore. 

Snow Bunting 1 March 2010
The passage migrants Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis, were spotted feeding on the strandline at Studland Bay beach in Dorset. These small birds are classified as a scarce visitor to the south coast of England. 


A rarely discovered Snapping Prawn, Alpheus macrocheles, was photographed at Kimmeridge Bay, Purbeck VMNR, Dorset. This crustacean appears a regular resident in the bay as thirty pairs were discovered a few weeks previously. Report by Steve Trewhella (Facebook)
BMLSS Snapping Prawns

17-22 February 2010
A 17 metre long Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalis, was spotted by Jean Lawson floating about three kilometres off the shore of north Cornwall. The dead mammal then floated north-east until five days later the huge whale washed up in a cove near Porthtowan, 37 miles away from the first sighting.


Fin Whale washed up at Porthtowan
Photograph by David Fenwick Snr

More Images

This is not the first time that the second largest mammal on our planet has observed drifting with the tides around the British coast this winter. Another dead Fin Whale eventually stranded on the Lancashire coast in December 2009.

Previous Report
Cornish Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network
BMLSS Cetaceans

1 February 2010
On going back up Marazion Beach, south Cornwall, as the tide turned (on the lowest tide of the year) my partner and I looked around some uppershore pools and discovered five Giant Gobies, Gobius cobitus. in three small pools. They averaged about 18 cm in length.


Giant Goby
Photograph by David Fenwick Snr

This large goby is a very rare find on the south-west shores of Britain and the Channel Islands.Their rarity in Britain is because they are on the northern edge of their natural distribution based on water temperature for breeding. Also, their bathymetric zone is probably in shallow water, and not normally intensively fished, and not encountered by rockpoolers except on the low spring tides
The Giant Goby is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act Schedule 5.

Full Report & Photographs (Link)
Aphotofauna
BMLSS Giant Goby Reports
BMLSS Gobies

25 January 2010
A ten metre long Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was discovered after becoming stranded on rocks at Beadnell Bay on the Northumberland Coast, north-east England. The whale had been dead for several days.


Photograph by Victoria Metheringham

The Sperm Whale is the largest species of toothed whale, reaching 18 metres (59 ft) and weighing 57 tonnes (male). This whale is capable of diving to a depth of more than 1000 metres and can remain submerged for over an hour. A fatty substance in the blood prevents dangerous nitrogen bubbles forming in their blood on deep dives, so they are able to descend to great depths, and return to the surface without decompression.

Comments by Steve Savage
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

The last BMLSS recorded stranding of a deep water Sperm Whale on the English North Sea coast occurred when two were stranded in separate incidents on North Sea coasts in February 2006.
Previous Scottish Stranding 2009
BMLSS Cetaceans

January 2010
Ray's Bream, Brama brama, continue to be washed up on the North Sea coasts of Northumberland and on eastern Scottish shores. 

Ray's Bream
Photograph by Paul Castle, Highland Council

At least fifty Ray's Bream were discovered by the beach cleaning staff between  Roker and Seaburn, at Sunderland, Wearside, north-east England. 

Report by Steve Orwin
BMLSS Ray's Bream

17 - 19 January 2010
After some easterly swells a dead Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, and a Sea Mouse, Aphrodite aculeata, (a worm), were discovered on a beach near Dawlish, south Devon.
 

BMLSS Seahorses
BMLSS Sea Mouse

Report and Photographs by Ben Hersey


14 - 18 & 19 January 2010
After the heavy seas had dropped on the shore at Blyth, Northumberland, the gulls fed in a frenzy on a large shoal of Sand-eels, Ammodytes. On the subsequent two days I observed a few Ray's Bream, Brama brama, in the same shallows and I speculated that these fish could have been feeding on the Sand-eels seen earlier. 

BMLSS Ray's Bream Reports

18 January 2010
 

Ian Wrigley discovered this peculiar object on the sandbank of Whitesands in Old Town Bay at low tide, at St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly. This large jelly-like mass was solid and heavy. The green translucent organism was quite slimy, and at 30 cm across it was estimated to weight over 1 kg. The most distinctive feature of this mystery object was the presence of many small whitish nodules within (5 to 10 mm), visible through the jelly, seemingly hard but in actual fact soft and they  would disintegrate with little pressure from the fingers. A few darker feathery patches were visible inside.

Photographs and Description by Ren Hathaway
Report by Doug Herdson (Fish Information Services)


At this time of year, the Football Sea Squirt (yes, it can be the size of a football) Diazona violacea has lost its zooids and is an off-white, slightly translucent smooth blob with structures (the new zooids) visible through the test. 

BMLSS Tunicates

13 January 2010
A mass stranding of crabs occurred on the Isle of Thanet coast, Kent; the crabs have been reported on beaches at Westbrook, Cliftonville and Kingsgate, while smaller numbers have been washed up between Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Most of the crabs were the Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber, which inhabits the shallow seas beneath the intertidal zone, over rocky substrates. 

BMLSS Strandline Reports
BMLSS Intertidal Crabs

January 2010

Nineteen Ray's Bream, Brama brama, were discovered on the beach at Redcar

Frequent reports of Ray's Bream being washed ashore on North Sea were received. These strandings occurred in 2008 and earlier years.

List of 2009 Reports
More Reports of Ray's Bream on flickr
 
 


 

British Marine Life News 2009
 

Cornish Marine Life Records 2009 (Ray Dennis Records)
BMLSS Oil Disasters page

 

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