Marine Life News Bulletin

December 2008

ISSN 1464-8156

On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
Link to Marine Life News 2008
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2007
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to an on-line page for younger students of the seashore. Spider Crab and youngsters at Adur World Oceans Day 2002 (Photograph by Duncan Morrison)
7-14 years

Norwegian Marine***

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Scottish Association for Marine Science

Silver Dolphin Centre, Helston, Cornwall

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages

Marine Life Society
South Australia ***

De Strandwerkgemeenschap

Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas and seashore around the British Isles.
The bulletin is designed for Microsoft Explorer 4 and above using medium fonts at a resolution of 800 x 600 and can be viewed satisfactorily at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.
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Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the NE Atlantic Ocean

18 December 2008
My trawler caught a Ray's Bream, Brama brama, at mouth of the River Thames. It measured 50 cm (20 in) long and weighed 1.65 kg. This fish was a new species for the River Thames.

Report by Paul Gilson

Ray's Bream, Brama brama
caught by the trawler Janeen in the Thames Estuary
Photograph by Leon Roskilly

Ray's Bream Reports

Date Location Notes Discoverer
14 December 2008 Hartlepool on North Gare Sands at 
NZ 541 271
Approx. 0.5m based on my size 9 feet! 
a second dead Rays Bream was found a week on Sunday 7 December 2008 at Seaton Sands
NZ 536 287; this was one slightly smaller in the same circumstances.
Steve Wilkinson
12 December 2008 Mundesley Beach, Norfolk  Two about three weeks ago and then today three of around 3 lb Crispian Emberson
Heritage Destination Consulting Ltd.
6-7 December 2008 17 washed up on the coast of Texel (the largest and most southerly of the islands in the Wadden Sea), Netherlands From Noordhollands Dagblad (only in the Dutch language) Richard Fordham
7 December 2008 Heacham 100 meters south 
of our beach house (Kala Juga, 1b North Beach)
Richard Brown
Early December 2008 Aldbrough Beach, East Yorkshire Report by
Doug Herdson
6 December 2008 Aberdeen Beach, east Scotland In vicinity of large top tide debris of kelp seaweed, sea urchins, clams and 
razor fish, all scavenged by birds
Andrew Jones
4 December 2008 Ryhope Beach, Sunderland Ian Colling
30 November 2008 North of Seahouses (Northumberland)  John Hanvey (Station mechanic) 
Seahouses Lifeboat Station
30 November 2008

1 December 2008

 Sea Palling Caught in a beach trammel net set behind the reefs at Sea Palling
1.7 kg

I saw a similar sized fish 
washed up on the shore. The gulls had started to eat it!

Fred Page
30 November 2008 Salthouse, Norfolk I caught it with my hands in the surf! Dr Matt Lawes
29 November 2008 At the mouth of Cockle Burn, Ruddons Point, Largo Bay, Fife, Scotland Peter Nimmo
22 November 2008 Salthouse, Norfolk a) Very long caudal fin 
b) slightly protruding lower jaw 
c) row of very sharp teeth 
We returned the fish to the water and it appeared to swim away.
Simon & Michelle Hollidge
Late November 2008 Between Whitby and Sandsend Ian Smith
15 November 2008 Burnham Overy Staithe, Holkham side of Scoult Head Island The fish was in very good condition and was approx. 50 cm long Karen Crate

The Ray's Bream, Brama brama, is a most interesting fish. It is an oceanic Lusitanian species (found in mid water off the Atlantic coast of Spain, Portugal and NW Africa) that turns up occasionally in British waters; but it is not a climate change species, it has done so for many years. The odd one is found around the south and southwest coasts, but when they have irruption years (e.g. 1967-68) they appear to sweep up and around the west of Ireland and into the North Sea, appearing in some numbers. Last year was such a year, with around eight tonnes of them being caught off the west coast of Ireland in the late summer, fish turning up around Aberdeen in September and being found all the way down to Lowestoft by December. There do not seem to be so many this year, but quite a few both here and in the Netherlands. I am trying to keep records of these and hope to analyse their patterns over the last fifty years."

Comment by Doug Herdson
Marine Fish Information Services
94 Dunstone View
Plymouth. PL9 8QW
Telephone: +44 (0)1752 405155
Mobile: 07910 078599


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean 
Yahoo Group
New Group:

With the closure of Smart Groups at the end of November 2006 most of the 7500+ messages have been filed at:

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Jiglu

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link


All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given 
to other observers or reporters.

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2005


Each month, at least one special marine image will be published from images sent to the BMLSS. This can be of the seashore, undersea world or any aspect of the marine natural world, especially the underwater life, but not restricted to life beneath the waves. Topical inclusions may be included instead of the most meritorious, and images will be limited to the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas, marine and seashore species and land and seascapes.

A gathering of forty Crows alerted me to a small wreck of Starfish, Asteria rubens, of several hundred were washed up on the strandline opposite the Burrells road, Shoreham Beach, Sussex.. There were a frequent egg cases of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, a few Whelks, Buccinum undatum, as well as the usual wreck of seaweed and Slipper Limpets, Crepidula fornicata. Out at sea there was a raft of about 200 of the smaller Gulls resting on the surface of the sea, 30 metres or so offshore. 
Report by Andy Horton



Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and the grid reference, if known. Print photographs can be included in Exhibitions and on the BMLSS Web Sites and electronic publications. Electronic images in *.jpg format can also be considered for the web site. They should not exceed 250K in size.

Gorse in flower on the shore at Croft Downie, Inverness Firth 
Photograph by Lynden Schofield (Inverness) on flickr

flickr British Coastal Topography

First enquiry by EMail to

New EMail address


Photographers submitting pictures should indicate if they wish them to be considered for inclusion as confirming permission takes work and time and can delay publication of the news bulletins. 

Link to more marine life photographs

Click on the album for more links (On-line link)




In chronological order, the most recent events are at the top of the page. Events open to the public, free or for a nominal charge only are included. Most Seminars need to be booked in advance.


BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology

(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)

 Public Aquaria List
?  What to do if you find a stranded whale or dolphin  ?

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach you must send for help QUICKLY. A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not an animal can be returned to the sea alive.

0300 1234 999
0300 1234 999
0131 339 0111
0845 201 2626
01534 724331
00 44 1481 257261

British Divers Marine Life Rescue
01825  765546





Sharks in British Seas

Richard Peirce
138 pages, colour illustrations, line drawings, colour & b/w photos.
Lots of newspaper reports.

Publisher:  Shark Cornwall
Softcover | 2008 | £9.99

ISBN: 978-0-955869402 

by Lucy Beckett-Bowman

Consultant: Andy Horton
Usborne Publishing   £3.99

Usborne Beginners Series
Level One (very young children)

ISBN 978-0-7460-8864-7

BMLSS Notes for a Primary School Teacher

Whales & Dolphins 
of the European Atlantic
The Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Celtic Sea and coastal SW Ireland
by Dylan Walker and Graeme Cresswell
with the illustrations by Robert Still
WILDGuides  2008
£ 12.00 (includes standard UK P&P)
ISBN:  978-1-903657-31-7

This is the second fully revised and updated edition of this comprehensive guide to the identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) in the European Atlantic. Until very recently, most researchers and whale-watchers were unaware of the great variety of cetaceans that can be seen so close to the shores of western Europe. Indeed, it is only during the last decade, when detailed cetacean surveys have been carried out in earnest, that we have discovered how important this area is for cetacean biodiversity.

This field guide describes all of the 31 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise that have occurred in the European Atlantic. 

BMLSS Cetacean Book Reviews

Click on this image for a link for further details
The Gulf Stream
by Bruno Voituriez 
Publisher:  UNESCO 
ISBN:  92-3-103995-4 
222 pages, figures, glossary, bibliography

The Gulf Stream
Amid contemporary scenarios of potential climatic catastrophes and global warming that might be imagined to bring a new ice age, the powerful image of the Gulf Stream rising from the Florida Straits and flowing to the north Atlantic inevitably provokes questions about its ecological significance and whether it might ever stop.

Coastal Plankton
Photo Guide for European Seas

by Otto Larink & Wilfried Westheide
reviewed by Wim van Egmond
(Collins New Naturalist) (Paperback)
by Peter Hayward
Collins 2004

ISBN:  0-00-220031-7

Amazon Web Site

Paperback. Pp 288. Colour & b/w photographs, illustrations, charts, maps and bibliography. Fine copy. "New Naturalist" Seashore is a comprehensive, authoritative account of the natural history of the seashore.

BMLSS General Guides
BMLSS Advanced Guides


Working to reduce Marine Pollution and to help the birds caught in it
Quarterly Newsletter
Registered Charity  803473


Decision-making in Marine Mammal 
Rescue and Rehabilitation

Eastern English Channel Habitat Atlas for Marine Resource Management
is available for download from

Encyclopaedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Marine Fauna of Norway

WET THUMB (Marine Aquariology)

BMLSS: Marine Life Articles in Publications (Link)

The British Marine Life Study Society are responsible for producing the journal GLAUCUS, which is the first publication exploring the marine life of the seas surrounding the British Isles available to the general public. In future, I expect the publication to be in an electronic format. 
    We also publish the SHOREWATCH Newsletter and
    the TORPEDO Electronic News Bulletin.

    The Glaucus 2002 CD-ROM was sent out to Premier BMLSS members in January 2003.

EMail Address

New EMail addressEMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society 


Membership 2008
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2008. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

Bulletin Details

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Printing the two column version of Torpedo (from issue 28)

These pages are not designed for the default settings on the Page Set-ups of your browser. I recommend viewing in Microscope Internet Explorer 6 and altering the right and left hand columns in the Page Set-up menu to 9 mm (from 19 mm).
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Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors

     23 December 2008

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.7 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aperLen NevellMarc AbrahamJohn KnightUrchin fossil (out of scale) dating the pebbles at 85 million years oldMermaid's PursesPeter Talbot-ElsdenCharlie DimmickAndy HortonSamanthaThe crab was called Rooney because of its missing leg. Nobody asked about the brain cells of a crab?