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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Summer 2007

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Link to the News Reports, October to December 2006



27 September 2007

Eider Duck  Somateria mollissima
swallowing a Bullhead
Photograph by Dave Pullan

 Eider Ducks usually eat mussels and perhaps other molluscs
so this is a most extraordinary photograph.

Dave Pullan Photographic Portfolio

24-25 September 2007
The male Northern Bottle-nosed Whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus, beached in Loch Roag, on the west of the Hebridean island of Lewis, before managing to free itself. But the undernourished whale was found dead on the second day at Garynahine.

Seven Northern Bottle-nosed Whales were seen at the weekend at the entrance to Loch Roag where they stayed for two days before moving off and leaving the ill one behind. 

22 September 2007
Numerous (28+) Snakelocks Anemone Shrimp, Periclimenes sagittifer, were found during a dive off Swanage Pier in Dorset. These small colourful shrimps look bluish (the pincers are blue and white striped) amongst the green tentacles of the symbiotic Snakelocks Anemone, Anemonia viridis. The shrimps can reach about 30 mm in size and are almost always found with the sea anemone. This is the first known sighting of Periclimenes sagittifer in the shallow seas around mainland Britain. 

Before this report, the most northerly sightings were regular reports from around the Channel Islands

19 September 2007
A large Deepwater Crawfish, Palinurus mauretanicus*, has been caught by commercial fishermen about 200 miles (321 km) from Newlyn, Cornwall. Measuring 59.5 cm (23 in) long, this is a large specimen of a species usually found in more southerly seas and an unusual capture off British coasts. It has been kept in captivity in the Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay. The usual species of Spiny Lobster is Palinurus elephas, and this is found off the south and west of the British Isles.
(* Species assumed without precise ID.)

Palinurus mauretanicus are recorded off the west of Ireland to 53°N, but only below 180 metres, normally below 200 metres. As there is not much water of that depth close to the UK, they are very infrequent in British landings. Catches in the Western Mediterranean can be of 200 to 300 crayfish at a time, presumably these are breeding groups.

More Information by Declan Quigley (Link)

BMLSS Crustacea
BMLSS Public Aquaria List

September 2007
In the last three weeks we have been observing the fragile String Jellyfish, Apolemia uvaria, in areas of plankton over deep water in various places off Land's End, Cornwall. 

BMLSS Other Siphonophores

14 September 2007
An Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus, landed at Shoreham, Sussex, and caught in the Selsey area of West Sussex, weighed 3.9 kg and measured 270 mm across its carapace. This is the largest crab on record from Sussex and as big as they get anywhere. 

Report by Hugh Clench
BMLSS Edible Crabs
Marine Life of Sussex

12 September 2007 
Working from a survey vessel south-east of Suðuroy in the Faroe Islands (north of Scotland), we witnessed 40 Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, plus 10 unidentified large whales (probably more Fin Whales) and one Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. This was over the course of a sail line some 50 miles in length. We thought we also saw a Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis. 
I am sure there are other places in the world that this spectacle occurs, but this area seems to hold a staggering number of these huge cetaceans. I have only encountered such numbers once before, in 2002 and in the same region.

BMLSS Cetacea

10 September 2007
We were hauling monkfish nets about 20 miles out to sea off Cornwall when a grey strange worm-like creature came up through the net hauler, it had wrapped itself up in the net. It looks like something out of X-files for sure. It had no real visible eyes or mouth. After initially wriggling round frantically for a couple of minutes; it played dead. After taking a couple of photographs with my phone, I scooped it up with the trusty shovel and flipped it over the side. It promptly swam away in an eel or snake-like fashion. It was about 60 cm long.

Report and Images by Sharpshooter on the World Sea Fishing Forum

The Nemertean "worm" was identified by myself and Richard Lord (Guernsey) of the genus Cerebratulus. 

It could very well be of Cerebratulus marginatus (definitely Nemertean, and confident it's a Cerebratulus). The species can be up to one metre long but can contract to less than half their extended length.
Gibson (1982) notes that Cerebratulus marginatus is rarely found on the lower shore and usually obtained when dredging in sandy or muddy sediments at depths of 20-150 metres or more. It can be caught on fishing lines when mussel flesh is used as bait. It is a strong swimmer and often rotates about it's own longitudinal axis. It tends to fragment when handled. When I get them in a sample they are always in pieces!
NBN Distribution Map
Notes by Peter Barfield (Sea-nature Studies)

5 September 2007
An astonishing 462+ Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen in the morning between Longships and The Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland!  Accompanying the sharks were many Gannets, suggesting that fish and plankton would have been present. Also, in much the same place (10 km sq. SW 33) between 20 and 24 Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus griseus, and 35 Common Dolphins Delphinus delphis, were recorded. 

Report by Martin Eliot (Sennen, Cornwall) via Stella Turk MBE
on the Cornish Wildlife Mailing List
BMLSS Shark News

4 September 2007
A young male Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus, called "George" followed a boat into the River Adur, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, and stayed for most of the day until coaxed back out to sea by Shoreham inshore lifeboat before it could stranded on the low neap tide
This particular Bottle-nosed Dolphin habitually enters English Channel harbours, but for all of last year was found around the French coast. 

Marine Life off Sussex
BMLSS Cetacea
Whales & Dolphins around the British Isles

120 Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen in the morning between Longships and The Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland!

Report by Martin Eliot (Sennen, Cornwall) via Stella Turk MBE

3 September 2007
60 Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen in the morning between Longships and The Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland!

Report by Martin Eliot (Sennen, Cornwall) via Stella Turk MBE
BMLSS Basking Sharks

26 August 2007
A Ray's Bream, Brama brama, (TL 458mm FL 380mm), found on the beach at St Brelade's Bay (S Coast of Jersey, CI), was the first one I am aware of in Jersey & possibly the Channel Islands?

BMLSS Ray's Bream

25 August 2007

Sea Hare (Photograph by Steve Potter)

Sea Hare, Aplysia fasciata

Aplysia, the size if which (between 30 & 35 cm) indicates that it is Aplysia fasciata. It was photographed swimming in Helford River, Cornwall. It was seen by Steve Potter

Information from Stella Turk MBE

Aplysia fasciata is the largest and the rarest of the three species of sea hare found in the British Isles. It is an Atlantic species, found from the Channel to Angola (South west Africa and to Brazil) and also throughout the Mediterranean. It appears to reach its northern limit in Ireland and along the Channel coast of England. 
It is one of the largest sea slugs in the world. The other two British species are the relatively common Aplysia punctata variable in colour and growing to 20 cm; and the uncommon Aplysia depilans with different shaped back lobes, brown or green and growing to a maximum of 30 cm.

BMLSS Molluscs

20 August 2007
An Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana, was caught by an angler from a boat at the entrance to Chichester Harbour, Sussex. This southern fish is rarely caught in British seas and was probably the very first one recorded and identified (by Dr. William Smith-Vaniz) in the seas off Sussex.

Three more Almaco Jacks have been caught since the previously mentioned one, one from Grand Rocque Bay on the west coast of Guernsey on 29 August 2007 and another from just off Crantock in north Cornwall by Newquay fisherman Phil Trebilcock at the beginning of September 2007

Chichester Report by Chris Tett (Weymouth)
Reports and Information collated by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
BMLSS Seriola Jacks

15 August 2007
We dived the 'Rosalie' off Weybourne in Norfolk at the weekend and saw a Tompot Blenny, Parablennius gattorugine. It was a fairly large one and was seen by several divers and we have some photos. According to our books, it has never been recorded on the east coast. 

Diving at Welbourne (Sunstar Sub-Aqua)

The distribution of the Tompot Blenny and presence on the North sea coasts is under investigation.

Tompot Blenny off Norfolk (Photograph by Dawn Watson)

Tompot Blenny off the Norfolk coast 
Photograph by Dawn Watson

10 August 2007
Mark Guppy clearly spotted a Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius*,  that jumped out of the water about 800 metres from the Condor ferry beyond Old Harry Rocks about five miles off Poole Harbour, Dorset, in the English Channel. (*Species assumed without precise identification.)

BMLSS Swordfish

2 -3 August 2007
A young Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, followed a fishing boat into Fraserburgh Harbour, north-east Scotland. It became trapped with an adult Minke Whale, believed its mother stationed outside the harbour. Rescue was achieved by British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) who coaxed the young whale back to the open sea using small boats and noise. 

31 July 2007

Atlantic Bonito (Photograph by Dougal Lane)

Commercial fisherman Dougal Lane caught an Atlantic Bonito, Sarda sarda, about three miles east of Sark, Bailiwick of Guernsey. The fish had a length of 511 mm and a whole weight of 1331 grams.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Photograph by Dougal Lane
BMLSS Scombridae

29 July 2007 
An astonishing bright red fish misnamed as the Boar Fish, Capros aper, was discovered swimming around in a pool when the tide was out on Littlehampton main beach (east of the River Arun), Sussex. It was about 75 mm long, and I was able to scoop the rhomboidal fish up in a shell, before I allowed it to swim away.

Report by Mark Wright

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.

BMLSS Cetacea

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


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