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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Spring 2007


Link to the British Marine Life News 2007

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For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below:

SUMMER 2007 Link to the News Reports, October to December 2006



27 July 2007
A Northern Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus, became stranded in the River Orwell, Suffolk, and is unlikely to survive being trapped in the estuary. The three metres long whale was first seen around 2:00 pm in the area of the Orwell Bridge, just outside of Ipswich

PS: The whale was humanely euthanased to prevent it suffering a lingering death.

20 July 2007
Fisherman Pip Farline landed a 3 metres long Thresher Shark, Alopias vulpinus, that had become entangled in his salmon nets, 200 metres off Filey, near Scarborough, Yorkshire. Thresher Sharks are a pelagic species that are occasionally seen inshore in the English Channel, but are much rarer in the North Sea and the last one reported from off the Yorkshire coast was over 80 years ago. The length includes its abnormally long tail that it uses to strike or thresh fish. 

BMLSS Sharks
BMLSS Shark News

16 July 2007  12:50 pm
Drifting east with the tide 200 metres off Ventnor Cove in the calmer water a two metres long Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola, swam so close to the rib that I was able to reach down and stroke it. It felt soft to the touch. The Sunfish appeared to nibble at the growths on the boat. Its large eyes just under the the surface of the sea were looking at me. 

Report by Stuart Damien-Philips (Harbourmaster, Ventnor)
BMLSS Sunfish

8 July 2007
For the first time in 10 years, with an incredible 300+ Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, were seen in the outer southern Moray Firth in NE Scotland along the Southern Trench on our Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, survey. 

25 June 2007
A youngRisso's Dolphin, Grampus griseus, swam into Fishguard Harbour, Pembrokeshire, Wales, during some story weather. Because this whale has a long dorsal fin it was first spotted as a shark. The young whale kept swimming in wide circles in the deeper area of the harbour clearly demonstrating some degree of spatial awareness. Luckily, about an hour after being seen, it followed the outgoing ferry to the open sea off south-west Wales. 

BMLSS Cetacea

15 June 2007
We have discovered what appears to be a mature female "berried" specimen of the Slipper Lobster, Scyllarus arctus, from SW Ireland. It was taken in a lobster pot just north of Inis Tuaisceart by local fisherman Edward Moore on board the 'Mystique Dawn'. We have kept it alive in a tank in Dingle Oceanworld.
This would appear to be the first record of this species from Irish waters. Records from off Cornwall are rare with about 27 records off Cornwall (mostly around the Isles of Scilly ) and off Plymouth (Devon). 

This crustacean that is also called the Spanish Cape Lobster is normally found in more southerly waters rarely found further north than the Azores and usually caught at depths of between 30 and 150 metres. Half the females have been discovered to be carrying eggs (="berried"). 

Previous Report
2001 Report and Notes (by Doug Herdson)
British & Irish Public Aquaria List

2 June 2007
Adur was one of the UK leaders in presenting an environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day, Shoreham-by-Sea, with exhibits hosted by local experts and enthusiasts of the undersea world. Live lobsters and crabs, a rock pool aquarium, the whale and dolphin exhibition, a touch table of strandline exhibits found on the shore and other interactive displays was on display under the marquee on on Coronation Green overlooking the River Adur by the Footbridge
Wayne Nevell with the Edible Crab

Adur World Oceans Day was run by a committee comprising representatives of the British Marine Life Study Society, West Sussex County Council, the Sea Watch Foundation, Friends of Shoreham Beach, Friends of Widewater Lagoon, Shoreham Greenpeace and other groups, with support from Adur District Council
Shoreham Herald Adur Festival Launch Photographs
Hairy Hermit Crab (by Karen) Common Hermit Crab, Pagurus bernhardus

BMLSS Hermit Crabs
Other Hermit Crabs

27 May 2007
Otter (Copyright Photograph by Nic Davies)
Otter (Copyright Photograph by Nic Davies)
Otter (Copyright Photograph by Nic Davies)

In this brilliant sequence of photographs, Nic Davies (Splashdown, captures a European Otter, Lutra lutra, in the process of capturing a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, on the Isle of Mull (map), Argyll and Bute, Inner Hebrides, SW Scotland. 
BMLSS Pipefish

16 May 2007
A large Tiger Prawn has gone on display at the Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay, Cornwall, after being caught in the nets of a Cornish fishing boat. The rare prawn was discovered 23 miles off the Lizard, south Cornwall, by fisherman Jim Helliwell. It is believed to have escaped from a French shrimp fishery as a larvae and survived in the English Channel. An adult Tiger Prawn will grow up to 30 cm long.
Blue Reef spokesman David Waines said: "We've done some research and it appears that this is the seventh large foreign prawn recorded in British and Irish waters since records began. We understand that virtually all of those have been found since the 1980s and experts believe they are escapees from shrimp fisheries off the coast of France.

14 May 2007
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 was published in the Western Morning News.  This referred to a Pufferfish washed up on 19 November 2006

In the period 31 October 2005 to  8 December 2006 there were seven Oceanic Pufferfish recorded in Cornwall, compared to 17 in Cornwall and about 40 in the whole of Britain and Ireland from about 1760 to 2004.  In this same 13 months there were three found stranded in Ireland and three caught by French fishermen in Biscay.

28 April 2007
A school of over forty Harbour Porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, were seen off Sussex, at Kingmere Rocks, between two and three miles from the shore. They made an incredible amount of noise as they came up to breathe and caused commotion amongst our group of free divers. They may have been chasing Mackerel which were caught by anglers later in the day. This report of these numbers of Porpoises, which could have been as many as sixty, is almost unprecedented from off the Sussex coast in recent years.
Report by Steve Campbell
BMLSS Cetacea

Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Ray Fallaize caught a record Couch's Sea-Bream, Pagrus pagrus, on rod and line from a boat in Guernsey waters. His capture has been accepted by the British Record Angling Committee. It weighed 6 lb  9 oz  7 drams (3 kg).  Its total length was 560 mm and fork length was 495 mm.

Report and Photograph by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

Full Report
British Sea Angling Records
Sealord Photography

26 April 2007
Our SWF boat survey between Stonehaven and Aberdeen (NE Scotland) recorded a group of five Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus griseus, close inshore off Muchalls. The dolphins were heading south and were spread out as individuals and pairs. This is the first sighting we have had of this species in eight years of vessel-based surveys off Aberdeenshire. 
Images & Field Notes

25 April 2007

Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, (Photograph by Ali MacDonald)

Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus,
off Aberdeen Harbour, NE Scotland
Photograph by Ali MacDonald

BMLSS Cetacea

21 April 2007
A Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was seen near the Lizard, Cornwall, swimming out to the Point.

Click on the picture for more excellent shark photographs by Seb de Grange

Basking Shark
Photograph of 10 July 2006 by Seb de Gange


Shark Report by Seb de Gange

19 April 2007
A small (3 to 4 metres long) Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, was seen by Edward Murray off Picklecombe Fort at the western entrance to Plymouth Sound around 2:30 pm. It was circling, apparently feeding.

BMLSS Basking Sharks

The first recorded Basking Shark was seen off Cornwall on 14 April 2007, off Lantic Bay by Roger Phillips
Cornish Baking Shark Records 2007
BMLSS Shark News

19 April 2007
The high spring tide swept over Blacktoft Sands on the Humber estuary raising the height of the water over the reed beds by half a metre and destroying all of the newly built nests of the rare Bearded Tits. The Humber is a managed estuary but still the natural processes of the sea are eating away at the coastal land like the Avocet breeding area known as Read's Island which may disappear entirely in the near future.

The Report by John Clare (RSPB) has been edited

14 April 2007
We have had a fish brought into the Orkney Marine-Life Aquarium  found dying on Sands of Wright beach, South Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands. It has been identified as the Deal Fish, Trachipterus arcticus. It measured 140 cm long by 30 cm deep by just 4 cm wide. 

The Deal Fish is regarded as scarce in Irish (and UK) inshore waters (<200 metres), but is considered common in deeper offshore waters. I have frequently observed it as a by-catch in mid-water trawls (500-600 metres) targeting Blue Whiting, Micromesistus poutassou, off the west and north-west coast of Ireland.

Earlier Report

Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas

Cornish Marine Wildlife 2006 (Ray Dennis Records)


The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum


Nature Notes Webring

Use these links if your are familiar with the scientific classifications of marine life

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