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 2006

BMLSS (England) Index

Norwegian Marine***
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Group Photo Pool
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to the Cornish Marine Life Reports (by Ray Dennis) for 2006
Encyclopedia of Marine Life 
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 Cetacean List (NE Atlantic)

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For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below:


28 December 2006
A Ray's Bream, Brama brama, was caught by angler Sören Linnemann, off north-east Denmark. It weighed 1.2 kg with a total length (including caudal fin) of 50 cm. 
Report and Photograph by Kent Andersson

18-20 December 2006

Gulfweed Crab (Photograph by Paul Semmens)

A scour of the strandline between Sennen and Gwenver on the west coast of Cornwall near Land's End discovered about fifty Violet Sea Snails, Janthina, seven dead Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus. and one Gulfweed Crab, Planes minutus, on a polystrene float covered with Goose Barnacles, and two Ray egg cases.

Report by Paul Elliott and Paul Semmens on the Cornish Mailing List

19 November 2006
An extraordinary report of an Oceanic Pufferfish, Lagocephalus lagocephalus, discovered washed up dead on the shore by Christopher and Morwenna Smart at Treyarnon Bay, near Padstow, on the north coast of Cornwall. 
"At first I thought it was a plastic toy fish, but then realised it was real and so we carried it home in an old fishbox we found. It was a really beautiful fish, blue, silver and white with a green stripe through its eye and quite different from fish we normally see around here."
There were also By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, washed up.

Report from the Western Morning News

This is the first confirmed report of an Oceanic Pufferfish, Lagocephalus lagocephalus, on these Marine Life News web pages. There have been unconfirmed reports of live ones seen briefly by divers. This fish is a common pelagic species of sub-tropical and tropical seas worldwide. 

Three Violet Sea Snails from Marazion on 20 December 2006 (Photograph by Paul Semmens)

17 December 2006
Twenty Violet Sea Snails, Janthina, were discovered along the beach at Woolacombe, North Devon. Most were about 10 mm in size, and some were still alive with their bubble rafts and "inked" when placed in a bucket.  They were washed in with tiny (max 12 mm) By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, Buoy Barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, and a small 15 cm Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus

BMLSS Beachcombing

16 December 2006
A badly decomposed Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was washed ashore on Selsey beach, West Sussex. It is extremely unusual for a turtle up this far east up the English Channel on the northern coast.

Report by Justin Atkinson via Ivan Lang (West Sussex CC)
Full Report and Image

14 December 2006
At Sennen, Cornwall, two species of Violet Sea-snails, Janthina janthina and Janthina pallida, as well as two sea beans Entada gigas and Caesalpina bondoc were discovered on the strandline.
Report by Paul Gainey via Stella Turk
on the Cornish Mailing List

Chinese Mitten Crab

Chinese Mitten Crabs, Eriocheir sinensis, have been confirmed as by-catch from white fish fisheries in the Dee estuary, north-west Wales. 
The alien Mitten Crabs were probably accidentally introduced in ballast water and have become established in the Thames and adjoining rivers and in the Mersey estuary. They cause a huge amount of damage to the tidal and lower freshwater sections of rivers as they burrow into riverbanks causing them to collapse and silt up. Further pressure is also put on our wildlife as these crabs out compete native species. These crabs must spend the juvenile part of their life cycle in freshwater but must return to the sea to breed. 

BMLSS Crabs of the Seashore

Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus, (Photograph by Richard Lord , Guernsey)

Another Columbus Crab, Planes minutus, was discovered by crab potter Chris Marquis near Herm and Sark in the Channel Islands amongst a tray of Goose Barnacles

13 December 2006
The gales of the preceding week also brought in the remains of a Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, on to at Widemouth Bay near Bude in north Cornwall.

BMLSS Turtles

12 & 13 December 2006
On the shore at Upton Towans (near Hayle), Cornwall, three Gulfweed Crabs, Planes minutus, (also known as the Floating Crab and Columbus Crab) were discovered living among Goose Barnacle bases on a polystyrene float; and on the second day at Perranporth six of these tiny crabs were found on a plastic barrel and one on a plastic float.

Report by Paul Gainey via Stella Turk
on the Cornish Mailing List
Earlier Crab Report

December 2006
Two deep water sea stars were recorded and collected by a ROV submersible, the first a beige species with short arms (like a cushion star) from a depth of around 250 metres off west Norway, and the second similiar one from a depth of 600 metres in a Norwegian fjord at an earlier date. Neither of these species have been positively identified at time of writing.
Full Report with the Links to Images

The species are suggested as Peltaster placenta and Diplopteraster multipes.

BMLSS Echinoderms

12 December 2006
A large 20 kg Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola, was washed up dead on the north Kent coast. The height of this round fish was measured at 98 cm (including the fins). Sunfish are frequently found stranded on the western and southern coasts of Britain, but much less often on North Sea coasts.

Full Report

11 December 2006
A surprising discovery of an Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola, from the Baltic coast ofsouthern Sweden, means this fish must have navigated through the narrow parts of the Kattegat. It was a smallish specimen with a total length of 60 cm. 

Report from Kent Andersson
BMLSS Sunfish

1 - 9 December 2006
The prevailing winds of autumn and the recent gales have washed more unusual pelagic animals on to the shore (with the millions of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, and multiple thousands of Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera) notably the small (size of a 10 pence piece) pelagic Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus, with five discovered on the Dorset coast at Southbourne (near Bournemouth) and a further 15 at Hengistbury Head, Dorset. The latter was discovered inside a large shipworm-riddled, Teredo, pole in cavities created by the tiny burrowing mollusc. The Columbus Crabs were found with the Goose Barnacles and there are clues that the buoys, wooden pallets, fish boxes etc. have been floating around the Atlantic Ocean for two years or more and are American in origin. The live crabs were placed in the aquarium at the Foundation Marine Centre at Kimmeridge.

Report by Steve Trewhella

These crabs are rarely recorded pelagic life with British records only from the extreme west coasts, with the only Cornish records of the crab coming from the 19th century. 
Planes minutus is also called the Gulf-weed Crab because the largest population of this abundant crab is believed to inhabit the open Atlantic Ocean area known as the Sargasso Sea.
Previous Report from the Channel Islands
Previous Report from Belgium

2 December 2006
My dog discovered a strange fish partially buried on the North Gare Sands, Hartlepool, (near the power station) part of the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve; the fish was one metre long, 30 cms wide and laterally very thin with a tapering tail. I have identified this fish as a Deal Fish, Trachipterus arcticus

Report by Colin Hatch
The Deal Fish is a deep sea fish which very occasionally is washed up on the shore. 
Previous Report

November 2006
At least two specimens of the large pelagic swimming crab known as Henslow's Swimming Crab, Polybius henslowii, were brought in by a commercial fisherman from Poole Bay. This crab is an active predator of small fish and is usually found over deep water further south. The same weather conditions which have brought in the By-the-wind Sailors are likely to have blown this crab into the shallow bay. 

Report by Steve Trewhella

Velella on Eastern Green, between Penzance and Long Rock, Cornwall
Photographs by Paul Semmens

26 November 2006
Thousands of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, were washed up on Welsh beaches, notably a narrow but continuous line of Velella velella washed up on the high tide mark at Borthwen, Rhoscolyn, Anglesey (southern end of Ynys Cybi - Holy Island), north Wales (Ian Wright); literally thousands stranded on a small bay at the Mumbles, Swansea (Jess Pitman); a swarm amounting to about two hundred were washed up on Porthllysgi beach off the coast of St. Davids in south west Wales (Eleri Davies) with hundreds, possibly thousands, stranded and dead on the pebbles on the nearby Newgale Beach (Helen Lee); thousands, if not millions, of By-the-wind Sailors were washed up on a beach at Criccieth (on the southern coast of the Lleyn Peninsula), Gwynedd, north Wales (Eilir Daniels); and an armada, a thick layer of jellyfish about a metre thick on the strandline in both directions at Cefn Sidan Beach at Pembrey, south west Wales (Bella).
BMLSS Velella
Velella (Photograph by Helen Lee) Velella (Photograph by Bella)

24 November 2006
Reports of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, have been received from north Devon and Guernsey.

19 November 2006
A large number, probably several hundred, of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, were washed up on beach at Newborough, on the southern cost of the Isle of Anglesey, north Wales.

Report by Tony Skinner

18 November 2006
Thousands of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, were reported being washed up on Saunton, Croyde and Woolacombe beaches in North Devon. All were noted as being of the same size, whereas in the past some had been tiny (finger nail size and smaller) plus larger colonies, all of the recent colonies were 50 - 75 mm across.

9 November 2006
A Tadpole Fish, Raniceps raninus, was caught from Bangor Pier, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. It was returned to the sea alive. 
Image (link)

Report and Image on the flickr British Marine Life Gallery
BMLSS Tadpole Fish

7 & 9 November 2006
Two late in the year Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were reported (by the BBC) off Teignmouth and the second one off Salcombe, south Devon.

2 November 2006
After a period of warm southerly and south-westerly winds, the weather changed. Strong colder winds came from the north-east and an easterly direction. By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, entered St. Peter Port harbour on Guernsey's east coast, driven in by the wind. Commercial fisherman Clive Brown called to tell me that about 25 Velella velella were washed up on the shore near his dinghy in the harbour. I went down to the Albert marina and I was able to collect four Velella velella by reaching out from a pontoon. This picture shows one of them mirrored by the water's surface: 

Velella (Copyright Richard Lord, Sealord Photography)

Report & Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Sealord Photography

31 October 2006
Tens of thousands of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, were wrapped up in the Thongweed and Zostera Eelgrass on Porth Hellick Beach, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly.  I heard they had also come ashore on other beaches on the east of the island. They were still quite fresh, though dead.

25 October 2006
I was approximately 5 to 6 miles west of the Casquettes, off Alderney, Channel Islands, and I saw about ten Velella velella being blown past our boat in a few minutes. 
Report by Timothy Harvey
BMLSS Velella

20 October 2006
A Louvar, Luvarus imperial, a large deep sea fish, was caught by a Swedish angler in northern Norway. 

 Report received via Kent Andersson

16 October 2006
A juvenile Northern Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus, was seen washed in shallow water on the east side of Inverness, north-east Scotland. It became stranded on the shore and died within two hours of first being spotted.

c. 13 October 2006
Sport angler Anton Kristiansen was out fishing with Turid Kvammen at Smøla, off the coast of Nordmøre, northwest Norway when he hooked and landed a Bluntnosed Six-gilled Shark, Hexanchus griseus, called kamtannhai in Norwegian. It measured 2.5 meters long and weighed 120 kg (264 lb).

This shark is a large deep water predatory species that is rarely caught by commercial fishermen and even less often by anglers. The British Isles record angling catch was caught off Ireland. Hexanchus griseus have six gill slits (the majority of sharks have only five gill slits) and with only one dorsal fin set near the tail it is most distinctive.

BMLSS Sharks
BMLSS 6-gilled Sharks
BMLSS Shark News

6 October 2006
Fisherman David Gillingham caught a rare off-white Lobster, Homarus gammarus, off Alderney in the Channel Islands (English Channel). The Lobster was white on its underside with grey-green markings on its back and blue claws which were not as bright blue as usual. It was flown by air to Guernsey Aquarium which will be its new home.

BMLSS Abnormal Lobsters

2 October 2006   6:45 to 6:55 am
A whirlwind for seen for several minutes off Brighton beach, Sussex. The reports said it was not a waterspout as the funnel cloud did not reach the sea. 
Eyewitness: Peter Machin

These lesser whirlwinds occasionally occur and I have been caught up in one. They are not caught on camera very often. 
Tornado (definition)
Marine Life off Sussex
Twisters from Caithness (Images)

Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas

The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum


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