Wildlife News 1998
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.
to 1999 News Reports
dozen Dolphins were reported from Gerrans Bay from Portscatho, south
Cornwall, which is unusual so late in the year.
Fishing Quotas by scientists at The International Council for the Exploration
of the Sea (ICES) for 1999 are drawn up. They are due to be unveiled at
the Fisheries Ministers meeting on 17 December
dead female Striped Dolphin, Stenella
coeruleoalba, was washed up in the marine lake at Clevedon. There have
been four reported strandings in British and Irish waters between 1913
and 1962 and 16 between 1962 and 1988.
gammarus, weighing 6.12 kg (13½ lb) was caught 4 miles
out of Eastbourne, Sussex, by a fishermen after Cod. This a huge specimen.
It is being kept alive. On 15 December 1998 it was transferred to the Brighton
Sea Life Centre.
Tony Clancy and Steve Connor
found a dead Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, washed
up on Aveley Bay, Rainham, East London.
shore caught Ballan Wrasse, Labrus bergylta,
was landed from the rocks at Portland, a Dorset hotspot at the end of November
by angler Pete Hegg from Portland. It weighed 4.1 kg (9 lb 1 oz).
The fish is being kept alive. It is slightly lighter than the largest specimen
caught on rod and line from a boat but exceeds the current record
from the shore of 4.0 kg. The Pulpit Rock area is famous for large
wrasse which are usually returned alive.
Wrasse link page
A large Sunfish,
was washed up dead on Gibraltar Point beach, near Skegness,
Lincolnshire. This specimen of a normally large fish weighed an estimated
68 kg (150
lb) and measured just over a metre long (3½ ft).
The height, including the fins was 1.38 metres (4½ ft). These fish
tend to be infected with parasites. This specimen had over 100 tapeworms
in its gut.
On the west coast the Sunfish
is reported several times every year, and not unusual enough for every
single entry to be included in these News Reports. We still like to hear
of observations of this fish. It is rarer in the North Sea. Off Dorset
a specimen has even been seen by a diver underwater.
Gibraltar Point is a sandy
spit at the top of the Wash. There is a field station there belonging to
Leeds University and it is used by many bird watchers etc.
by Andy Colls (Chesterfield)
Prionace glauca, was washed up
on Gibraltar Point beach near Skegness, Lincolnshire in November
1998. It was just over 2 metres long and was damaged by what looked like
another shark bite. Although usually regarded as a southern shark, specimens
have been reported before from off the north-east coast of England, including
a specimen in shallow water earlier in the year.
by Andy Colls (Chesterfield)
The alien Chinese
Mitten Crab, Eriocheir sinensis, was discovered in the Teign
estuary, Devon. This is a serious pest species and an investigation is
underway. This crab has not been discovered on the English Channel coast
Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was washed into Fowey Harbour,
Cornwall. It was about 2 metres long. (Report
by Jon Makeham).
niger, was caught from East Yorkshire's Aldbrough beach by Simon
Ostler, from Beverley East Yorkshire. It weighed 2.8 kg (6 lb 2
The last reported specimen caught was 10 years ago, when a smaller
fish was caught from Lincolnshire's Moggs's Eye beach. (Len Nevell,
Sea Angling Reports).
usually inhabits water of over 100 metres deep, and the North Sea is shallower,
although a trench called the Silver Pit of this depth occurs off the Wash.
unusual for the Blackfish to be as far south in the North Sea as
Yorkshire. Main sightings in catches are from off west Scotland in
deeper waters. Nine specimens have been caught by fishermen from 1987-1996.
Since the development of more deep sea fishing off Scotland they have become
more numerous in catches.
Cornish Blackfish, Schedophilus
medusophagus, is very similar in appearance to the Common Blackfish.
The last record for this latter fish is one caught off Ireland in August
1996 and brought into Newlyn , Cornwall
340 kg (750 lb) Bluefin Tunny (or
Tuna), Thunnus thynnus, was captured on a Mackerel long-line
off Plymouth. (Corrected Report by Doug Herdson). The Bluefin
is usually the only large species of tunny found in British seas, although
it is very scarce nowadays.The original report was of a Yellowfin Tuna,
albacares, but this is now corrected. Yellow-fin are found in the Caribbean
Sea. The Yellowfin is such a rare vagrant that it up to 1978, there
was only one record of a dead fish from off SW Wales in 1972.
National Aquarium Link
to Official Site
Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus, were seen from the Skerries
to Vidlin ferry, Shetland Islands, in the afternoon.
15 Striped Dolphins,
coeruleoalba, were spotted by Jean Lawman off Gwnapp Head, Devon. These
dolphins are rarely seen or stranded in the English Channel.
A large Common
Octopus, Octopus vulgaris, was brought into Plymouth Aquarium.
It was believed to have been caught off the extreme south-west of Cornwall.
The Common Octopus has been rare in British seas for about 35 years, apparently
since the cold winter of 1963.
Information (John Liddiard External Site)
boats also brought in a Squid measuring over 2 metres from the beak
to the tail, excluding the tentacles. The species was not identified. (Jon
- November 1998
numbers of jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca,
have been stranded over the period September
to early November 1998 on the west coast of
Ireland. This is an exceptional event and it is the first time they have
been recorded in such numbers in Irish waters.
recent event started off Co. Donegal in August
and has spread to the west coast of Ireland where, during October, it has
occurred in sufficiently large numbers to kill cultivated salmon.
jellyfish has a potent sting.
Blue Spiny Spider
Crab, Maja squinado,
caught off Jersey. It is now living happily in a friend's aquarium. It
is 95 mm across the carapace and is a habitat in its own right with two
species of anemone, sea mat, at least two species of sponges as well as
the barnacles living on its carapace. The size of the barnacles seem to
indicate that it hasn't shed its shell for some time. Another oddity is
that it has both male and female characteristics
and is what local fishermen charmingly refer to as a 'puffter'!
This abnormality is caused
by the parasitic barnacle.
specimen of a blue Spider Crab
was caught off the Isle of Wight in November or December 1998, and another
one earlier in the autumn off Dorset. At the end of January
1999, Jon Makeham reported a vivid blue Spider
Crab dead on Looe Harbour beach.
This crab is usually orange-brown
Crab Mounds (link)
A bright blue specimen of
Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber,
was collected by a diver at Thatcher's
Rock, Torbay, Devon in the spring of 1998.
Also a bright red specimen of this swimming crab was collected by Jon Makeham
from the shore at Looe
in October 1998.
We also had another Seahorse
brought up on a lobster pot off Jersey - the usual species Hippocampus
hippocampus, but this time a male. He has gone to the Seahorse Centre
now at the National Marine Aquarium
in Plymouth to join the three females from Jersey who went there in
February. Fingers crossed for the patter of tiny prehensile tails. Pic.
Islands (BMLSS *** Site)
21 and 26 September 1998
One fisherman caught around
120 Seahorses, Hippocampus hippocampus,
(in total) in 5 days time (5 hauls) close to the Belgian coast. These fish
are rather inconspicuous between other bycatch organisms and debris, it
might well be that more were caught in the net and discarded, and also
that a number came loose during the hauling of the net (given the mesh
size, the animals must have been attached by the tail to the net or bryozoan
colonies caught in the net).
Scomber japonicus, of 468 grams (16.5 oz)
was caught from the shore on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, by Neil Montgomery.
Spanish Mackerel are rare this far north, and there is no entry in the
Scottish records for this fish. (Scottish
leucorodia, was spotted on the small flooded area next to the ferry
terminal at Symbister on Whalsay, Shetland Isles. This large and very white
bird with its characteristic large spoon-shaped bill was discovered during
the early evening and was happily 'spooning' through the water right alongside
the road. It is only the fourth record of the species in Shetland and only
the second record this century.
More information on the Shetland
Wildlife News Web Site
The Spoonbill is now regarded
as unusual but not the startling rarity it used to be in the estuaries
in the south-east of England.
was caught in set net on the Eddystone Reef, Devon. This venomous fish
usually lives in the Mediterranean.
Aquarium Rare Fish Records (Compiled by Doug Herdson)
Prime Minister, John Prescott, announced that the water companies should
end the discharge of raw sewage into the sea. Exactly how this will be
achieved is not clear at present. The Marine
Conservation Society, who have mounted a 12 year
campaign against sewage disposal into the sea must take some credit, but
also the Government have to implement a EC Directive.
Hare, Aplysia depilans,
floated into St. Peter Port harbour, Guernsey, British Channel Islands
on September 21. It weighed 242 grams and was 147 mm long and
80 mm wide. The parapodia (conspicuous lateral lobes) of Aplysia
depilans are fused posteriorly.
the first A. depilans I have seen although in June and July of this
year I saw at least one hundred of the commoner A. punctata either
spawning on seaweed or washed up on Guernsey beaches.
(Report by Richard Lord from Guernsey, EMail:firstname.lastname@example.org).
Two huge Porbeagle
Sharks, Lamna nasus, were caught from two Sunderland based salmon
fishing boats. Very large sharks are caught every three to four years.
The first shark was estimated to weigh 190 kg (420 lb), and the
second a massive (unbelievable) 363 kg (800 lb). The British
and World angling record is 230 kg (507 lb). Angling
Records Link Page. The British record for the Mako Shark, Isurus
oxyrinchus, is about the same, although the world records for this
shark stands at 506 kg. The seas around Coquet Island (near Amble)
are a regular haunt of Porbeagles if they are present. In August, two Porbeagles
were caught in the sea off the Tyne, an event that occurs every year,
and in late September, one measuring 2.3 metres long was landed at Hartlepool.
(Records not checked for duplication).
These could be Mako
NB: The Great White Shark,
carcharias, has been recorded at a weight of 3312 kg (7302 lb).
The largest ever
fish caught on rod and line in British waters was a Bluefin Tuna,
thynnus, from a Whitby boat in 1933 that weighed in at 386 kg (851
Other notable fish of a different species included a Sturgeon,
sturio, at a weight of 317 kg (700 lb) off the Orkney Isles
in 1956. This Sturgeon was 3.18 metres long. However, a Sunfish,
mola, weighing 363 kg, was washed up on Tayside, Scotland, in 1960.
Sharks grow much larger.
Fish, Naucrates ductor, were caught in a Pilchard net in Mevagissey
Bay, Cornwall, about 100 metres offshore. The fish were about 20 cm (8
in) long. Unfortunately, they did not survive their incidental capture
and could not be kept in the Mevagissey Harbour Marine Aquarium. One fish
remained alive long enough for its natural colours to be discerned. It
was slate-grey with 5 purple-black stripes. This fish has a keel preceding
the tail fin. The white tips to the tail fin and the anal fin were more
noticeable than the books usually show. This fish has a series of small
spines preceding the first dorsal fin.
Fish is a rare visitor to the south-west of Britain. It acquired its common
name from its habit of accompanying sharks, turtles and large floating
objects. The best guess is that it accompanied the Basking
Sharks that were unusually common this year. There are no British angling
records for this small fish.
and photograph by Chris Gilbertson from Mevagissey
Harbour Marine Aquarium.)
fishery has resumed on a small scale off Mevagissey about 6 years ago after
a long absence. The Comber thrives in the
Mevagissey Harbour Marine Aquarium.
caught by a trawler off Looe, one remained alive long enough for it to
be housed in Looe Aquarium. The Rabbit-fish
usually lives in water deeper than 300 metres, where it is abundant. This
is the first report I have received of this fish in a British aquarium
in recent years.
the total number of Blue Sharks,
glauca, were down this year from boats going out from Looe (the
sharks are returned alive), a specimen was caught by Gary McCall from Ruislip,
Middlesex, (on the boat "Swallow" skippered by Murray Collins), that exceeded
their scales and was estimated to weigh 71 kg (157
lb) . It was
2.6 metres (8 ft 7") long with a girth of 95.25 cm (371/2
The British record is 68.5 kg (151 lb) from Looe in 1959.
record: a Six-gill Shark, Hexanchus
griseus, of 142.8 kg (315 lb) has
been caught by an angler off Ireland (in 1993) but the record was ineligible.
Diesel oil spillage of 400,000
litres (400 tonnes) in Shoreham Harbour, Sussex, (east end of the Canal)
from a bungled burglary. The environmental damage is expected to be small
as most of the oil was prevented from entering the canal part of the harbour,
connected to the sea.
pair of Northern Bottle-nosed
Whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus, visited Broadford Bay, Isle of
Skye. These were almost certainly immature animals as they were only 5.5
to 6 metres long; adults can grow up to 9.5 metres. They are very rare
in inshore waters, they normally live off Nova Scotia, and north Atlantic
waters. They are probably the deepest diving of all the whales with the
ability to dive to over 1,500 metres and can allow over 1 hour between
breaths. The whales were very active and breached regularly for periods
between one and two hours, giving spectacular displays. They came
in to 30 metres from the shore.
by Chris Hicks
whales never appeared distressed, although at times they were in alarmingly
water, less than 5 metres. They always returned to deeper water if they
got too close to the beach. After three weeks we noticed the whales had
lost weight and it was obvious they were not eating. In the last week their
behaviour changed and they started to disappear for long periods underwater
which I interpreted as hunting forays.
by Nigel Smith
August 1998, three Northern Bottle-nosed
Whales were seen in shallow water at Bere Island, County Cork, Ireland.
One became stranded and died, but two of them were seen to leave Bantry
Dermochelys coriacea, was spotted between Caldy
Island and Tenby off the south-west Wales coast. (Will
The European Union for
Coastal Conservation EUCC) has recently started its international public
awareness programme aimed at improving the implementation of the EU Habitat
Directive. Called "Green Islands for Natura 2000"; the programme
seeks to persuade governments into fulfilling their obligations to create
relevant conservation measures to preserve habitats and species of Community
Click on the logo for
the Link for more information
Official Green Islands Site Link
Torpedo nobiliana, was caught by angler Steve
Alnutt off Shoreham Beach, Sussex. It weighed
8 kg (18 lb) and was returned alive. It was landed with some difficulty,
because the powerful electric shocks transmitted up the line.
Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus, were seen in Whiteness
Voe, Shetland Islands. (near the Deeps, SW Zetland ?)
Sea Mammal Report 1998
of Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were spotted
by the Shoreham lifeboat crew from their boat while out on an exercise.
Three days later, they were observed from the shingle
beach, swimming about 50 metres offshore, near Hove lagoon, Sussex (near
Shoreham Harbour). All species of dolphins are rarely seen
off Sussex and there were no reports from 1997. The heatwave from 7 August
continues and the temperatures have reached 28° C every day for nearly
two weeks on the Sussex coast.
approx 15 miles South of Hastings, East Sussex, we
spotted a couple of Bottle-nosed Dolphins whilst out on a fishing trip.
One came over to the boat when we started motoring and treated us to a
'bow wave' show for a good couple of minutes. (Chris
8 - 10 specimens of the uncommon Red
Band Fish Cepola rubescens, were discovered swimming in
a vertical position above their burrows in Portland Bay, Dorset.
Report by Simon
August 1998 Peter Glanvill observed
Red-Band Fish near the wreck of the Countess of Erne (Portland Harbour).
1998: Population now estimated to be several
hundred in Portland Bay, that remain throughout the winter and do not migrate
into deeper water.
14 August 1998
Mako Sharks, Isurus oxyrinchus, (one about 5 metres and the
other larger) were caught in salmon nets about 3 miles SE of Whitby, North
Yorkshire. (One of sharks had 3 Lampreys Petromyzon marinus
embedded in it.)
Marine Aquarium, Plymouth,
Rare Fish Records)
The fisherman who caught the
fish was positive that these sharks were not Porbeagles and commented on
the striking white belly and triangular teeth. One of about 5 metres
(14 ft) was captured in a monofilament salmon net. The following
day a similar but apparently larger shark was seen to go through the net.
do not normally inhabit the cold waters of the North Sea, which even in
August may only reach 14° C)
The carcass of a
Striped Dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba, was found washed ashore
at Northcott Mouth, Cornwall. SS 201085
Marine Wildlife Reports 1998 (by Ray Dennis)
A pod of at least six Killer
Whales, Orcinus orca, was seen in Sandwick Bay, SE Unst, Shetland
Further information including
photographs on the Shetland
Wildlife News Web Site
Also, see below.
Scores of bathers are injured
by the sharp shellfish (mollusc) known as the Razorshell or Razorfish,Ensis
ensis, on Paignton Beach, Devon, on a very low tide. Razorshells
live buried under the sand, but will rise to the surface of the sand to
feed. Many of the Razorshells seem to have died during the heatwave leaving
the sharp remains of the shell above the surface of the sand in the shallow
Whale (see below) becomes stranded on the Mersey mudflats at low tide.
The 6 tonne whale was towed back out to sea a second time and never seen
Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata,
swam into the Mersey estuary
at Hayle and seems unable to return to the open waters of the Irish Sea.
In a mini heat-wave, the temperatures
reach 290C on the English Channel coast.
Hundreds of Compass Jellyfish,
hysoscella, were seen 3 miles off Torbay, Devon.
Continual poor weather, with
rain reported in most days of July, and small tornados reported near the
end of the month with thunderstorms. Marine wildlife reports were predictably
The pod of at least 6 Killer
Whales, Orcinus orca, seen yesterday spent most of the day around
the coast of Fladdabister in the Shetland Isles, before heading back north
in the evening to Gulberwick and around into Briewick Bay again.
A pod of at least 6 Killer
Whales including a large male and a very young individual, spent the
evening in Briewick Bay, Lerwick, before moving slowly south at around
Egrets, Egretta egretta, spotted flying over Brighton, Sussex.
These birds are an unusual occurrence on the northern English Channel coast
(Sussex) but reports seem to becoming commoner. From Ian Lawes (Compuserve
The egrets were first noticed
in 1989 and by
the influx meant that these birds were a definite new permanent addition
to the the British avian fauna in the south of England.
bird is not included in some general books of British Birds; it should
Egrets on the River Adur
A pod of 12 Sperm
Whales, Physeter macrocephalus ,were seen about 14 miles off
Sumburgh Head, between the Shetland Isles and Fair Isle, (the small island
midway between the Shetland Isles and the Orkneys), during the late morning,
heading south-west. They were photographed from a helicopter and also from
the Fair Isle ferry which was about 100 metres away from them.
Gales and driving rain reported
from all over Britain and News and Rockpooling Reports are expected to
be few because of the awful weather.
sturio, reported from Kinlochbervie, Western Highlands,
Scotland. The fish weighed 27 kg (60 lb) and was taken at
sea near Sule Rock, between Cape Wrath and the Orkneys. Kinlochbervie is
a fishing port just south of Cape Wrath, the most northerly point of the
western part of the peninsula of mainland Scotland (John o' Groats is on
July 1998. Bournemouth
Oceanarium opened to the public.
The centrepiece display is a
re-creation of the Great Barrier Reef, but there are displays from seas
all around the world, including the British Isles and an Antarctic Ice
Hasell Tel: 01202 311993
A list of Public Aquaria
in the U.K. can be found at: pan2.htm
Lagenorhynchus acutus, were seen off Hamnavoe, (West
Burra islands, south of Scalloway) Shetland Islands, during the afternoon,
along with about 30 Harbour Porpoises, Phocoena phocoena.
News Web Site
1998. Several hundred White-beaked
Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, were seen off Sumburgh
Head, Shetland Isles, during the early afternoon.
Pomfret, Pterycombus brama, was caught in shallow water,
in St. Gerrans Bay, Cornwall.
a species of the open ocean that reaches a maximum size of about 40 cm.
It has exceptionally large dorsal and anal fins, a big eye and a mouth
that points upwards. It is related to Ray's Bream , and is often placed
with it in the Bramidae, although some fish experts place pomfret in the
Pteraclidae. Alwyne Wheeler
notes that Silver Pomfret
have been caught by Spanish and Portuguese line fishermen at depths of
about 128 metres and there are many reports of stranded individuals on
the Norwegian coast. Little is known about its biology except that it spawns
off Florida and in the Caribbean.
discovered 20 specimens of the Mediterranean prawn Hippolyte longirostris
Hannafore Point, Looe. This species has only been recorded twice before
An offshore species of fish
caught near Coverack, Cornwall, was a Greater
silus. These are rather torpedo-shaped fish reaching
a maximum size of about
50 cm. They are believed to normally feed on fish,
crustaceans and squids.
Report by Colin Speedie (Cornish Wildlife Trust)
Shark Trust Basking Shark Web Page:
1998 literally hundreds of Basking Sharks
were seen off the Lizard Peninsula, southern Cornwall.
by Jane Lilley
From the vantage point of the
high cliffs the whole sea was covered with sharks from
close inshore to the horizon.
The sharks first arrived about
12 May 1998, and a few days later their numbers were estimated to exceeded
They were still around at the
beginning of June.
The display includes sharks, seahorses, and NE Atlantic marine fauna in
a natural kelp
May: The New National
Aquarium at Plymouth
opened to the public.
The Aquarium covers an
area of 9000 square metres in the
New Sutton Harbour area of Plymouth
near the historic Barbican.
Contact: Simon Bradley
Tel: 01752 600301
tank. The wave tank is unique to British Public Aquaria.
The old MBA Laboratory Aquarium on Citadel Hill is now
closed to the public.
4 -7 May
Curlew, Numenius tenuirostris is seen and photographed at
Bay, Northumberland from 4-7 May 1998. This rare bird is a new addition
to the British list.
Ornithologistsí Union News
Hundreds of Harbour Porpoises,
Phocoena phocoena, are seen
off Sumburgh Head. There were so many that they filled the sea in all directions.
April. The first Humpback Whale,
sighting of the year for the Shetland Isles is reported off Sumburgh Head
April. A bull
Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, is seen
off Haroldswick, Unst, Shetland Isles.
April. A large Turbot,
for the Eastern Channel) of 8.7 kg (19 lb
oz) was caught
by Robert Squires from an angling boat off Southwick, Sussex.
April. A Tornado is caught on film off the coast of Fraserburgh,
NE Scotland, as the rest of the country suffers a cold spell, with snow
and temperatures in the whole of the UK down to freezing point at night.
A half a dozen Sperm Whales,
macrocephalus, entered Scapa Flow, the large natural harbour in the
Orkney Isles. They remained for at least five days, which up to 4 whales
were seen at one time, blowing and with their large heads out of the water.
They seemed to have left of
their own accord.
by Chris Booth, Orkney Cetacean Recorder,
Foundation "Soundings" journal.
the one-eyed Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, (reported
1997) continues to visit Looe Fish Quay, Cornwall. He is a very large slate
grey bull, over 2 metres in length. The fishermen feed him their refuse
from the catch.
April: 3 Bottle-nosed Dolphins,Tursiops truncatus,
were seen by Chris Everson about three and a half miles south-west of Littlehampton,
Sussex. Cetacean sightings are infrequent off the Sussex coast. They do
not occur every year and dolphins have returned after an absence.
Meacher announces that the
Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus,
is one of 33 species receiving protection under the Wildlife
& Countryside Act 1981. The other marine species receiving full protection
Giant Goby, Gobius cobitis
Couch's Goby, Gobius couchii
boops, is landed at Brixham Fish Quay, Devon.
April 1998. Another one is caught off the Brixham side of Start
A badly decomposed
Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, over
11 metres long has been washed ashore at Heylor, Ronas Voe, Shetland
Isles. On 27 February an even larger Sperm Whale at 14.3 metres long, was
washed ashore at the Ness of Caltagarth, Coppister, south Yell, Shetland
Isles. This specimen was in a good condition and samples of the tissue
were taken for analysis.
News Web Site
March: A Striped Dolphin,
managed to strand itself on Grimister Beach, Whalefirth, Yell, in the Shetland
Isles. The 2 metres long dolphin was still alive when beached, but died
shortly after it was found.
A Thickback Sole,
Microchirus variegatus, was part of the
haul of a beam trawl off Guernsey. This species is not as rare as the fishes
reported below but is not very well known because it is a fish that is
much commoner is more southerly seas and usually lives below 30 metres.
by Richard Lord (Guernsey).
3 specimens of the Sea Horse,
hippocampus, were accidently caught in deep water, over 30
metres, off Jersey by lobster fishermen. These attractive small fish are
regularly caught in small numbers during the winter.
Gilbertson (Mevagissey Marine Aquarium, Cornwall) reported an unusual
fish caught in a gill net set for Cod 5 miles off the south Cornish coast
in 40 metres of water. It has been positively identified as a Maigre
or Shadefish, Argyrosomus regius.
It resembles a Bass in form with a pearly-silver coloration and it is estimated
to weigh about 1.6 kg (3.5 lb), but is different in many respects
including a salmon-coloured mouth, 9 rays on the first dorsal fin and distinctive
large scales, with every fourth scale set at a different angle.
The Maigre is a member of the
Drum family of fishes Sciaenidae. This must be a young fish as specimens
of this species can reach 48 kg (100 lb) and may be even larger.
It is a rare fish throughout its range in the Mediterranean Sea with records
as far north as the English Channel extremely rare. Other names this fish
may be known as include Shade-fish, Bar and Bubbler. It is reported to
make a whirring noise as it swims. The common name seems unsuitable for
this large predatory fish and is translated into English from the French
as Meagre. Other names according to the Fishfinder
Database are Jewfish, Croaker and Salmon Bass.
scombrus, are being caught in commercial numbers off Brighton, Sussex.
These fish are normally caught only in summer. Sussex
fishermen believe that the warm water is the reason for their occurrence,
although in the coldest month of the year the sea temperature was measured
at 7oC which is about normal for February. Report
by Peter Talbot-Elsden.
Jon Makeham discovered the unusual gastropod mollusc
latens under a rock at low water on Hannafore Beach, Looe. These
gastropods were covered by a mantle that felt leathery. Two specimens were
discovered, one was brown, the other a carmine red. The species was identified
by the internal shell.
A Giant Goby, Gobius cobitis, was discovered by Jon
Makeham at Hannafore Point, Looe, in southern Cornwall. It was found
sheltering underneath a piece of Japweed,
Sargassum muticum, on
the middle shore. This large goby at 25 cm long, is at the northern edge
of its range in the SW of Britain and is rarely found between the tides.
Jon also discovered about 500 washed up
This is a lesser number than in previous years. Most of the specimens varied
in length from 40 to 60 mm.
The Giant Goby is now a Protected
A large shark of over 5 metres long (16 ft) long was seen in Sandsound
Voe on the western coast of the Shetland Isles attacking seals, which are
attracted by the salmon in the cages. The shark was estimated to weigh
500 kg. The species was not identified. Species of shark in British seas
that reach this size include the Greenland Shark, Somniosus microcephalus,
which will attain lengths of over 6 metres and is known to attack seals
on occasions. This shark is a northern species which is not often recorded
off the coast of Scotland. Both Philip Vas and Len Nevell have suggested
it could be a Six-gilled Shark, Hexanchus griseus.
January: A large squid was spotted on the
beach at Newburgh, north of Aberdeen, by an MSc student, Oscar
Campbell. The weather was cold, with snow
lying on the beach at low water. Oscar brought a tentacle club in to Aberdeen
University we identified as belonging to an Architeuthis.
The squid was found to be an immature female with a total length of 4.6
metres and mantle length (ML) of 1.2 m, it weighed 40 kg.
Report (Aberdeen University)
: An adult Ross's Gull,
Rhodostethia rosea, was seen
at the Shetland Catch Fish Factory, Lerwick. It is about the 14th record
for Shetland this century. This a
News Report, and more information can be found on their Web Site including
a photograph of this Asian bird.
At the confluence of East and West Looe rivers, Jon
Makeham discovered 200
dead Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax.
marine fish enters estuaries during the summer and shoals of small fish
sometimes remain throughout the winter. The cause of the deaths is unknown.
The largest fish were 50 cm in length.
A powerful electronic storm and torrential rain hits the Sussex coast.
A tornado caused extensive damage at Selsey Bill and another one
hit Calais on the French side of the English Channel.
Gales batter the south and south-west of England.
Marine Life Study Society
Wildlife Records 1996
Wildlife Records 1997
Wildlife Records 1998
Wildlife Records 1999
Wildlife Records 2000
Wildlife Records 2001
Marine Life Records (Ray Dennis) 1993
The BMLSS (England) site commenced on
1 January 1997.
Marine Life Records (Ray Dennis) 1994
Marine Life Records (Ray Dennis) 1995
Marine Life Records (Ray Dennis) 1996
Marine Life Records (Ray Dennis) 1997
Marine Life Records (Ray Dennis) 1998
British Marine Life Study Society