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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Link to the News Reports, October to December 2010




21 November 2010
An unprecedented stranding of over a hundred jellyfish Rhizostoma octopus were discovered on the beach at Formby, north Liverpool. "The jellyfish were literally uncountable - we walked about a mile along the beach and they stretched the whole way and out of sight. They were all more than 60 cm in diameter. The previous high tide was accompanied by a moderate wind but nothing exceptional, and it was not particularly high." 

Report by Garth Raybould
BMLSS Jellyfsh
MarLIN Records of Rhizostoma octopus

15 October 2010
Gary Crane received a shock when he landed a 4.95 kg (10 lb 14 oz 11 dram)  female Marbled Electric Ray, Torpedo marmorata, on Richard Seager’s‘Out of Blue‘, while fishing about three miles to the east of Sark, Channel Islands.  The electric ray had a total length of 58.6 cm and a disc width of 41.5 cm.  The electric ray took a whole Black Bream, Spondyliosoma cantharus, presented as bait. 

BMLSS Sharks & Rays
BMLSS Angling Records Links page
BMLSS Sharks & Ray News

27-28 October 2010
A pod of at least 24 Long-finned Pilot Whales, Globicephala melas, swam into Loch Carnon, South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. It is unusual for these cetaceans to swim so close to the eastern shore of the Western Isles. The increasing narrowness of the loch meant that there was a possibility of the pod becoming stranded on the shores of the loch, so the Stornoway Coastguard called in the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and other experts. 
When the whales were in danger of heading towards the head of the loch, local fish farmers took their boats and having formed a ‘U’ shape behind them, slowly guided them back out past Cornan Pier where they were safe from stranding in deeper water 400 metres offshore. 

Map of the Hebridean Seas
Map of Carnan Pier Area
BMLSS Cetaceans

Postscript:  The whales did return to sea but 35+ whales, thought to be the same group, were discovered dead on a Rutland Island beach and nearby in County Donegal, Ireland, on 7 November 2010.

Images of the dead Pilot Whales

25 August 2010
A colourful and scarce discovery of a Streaked Gurnard, Trigloporus lastoviza, was captured on video in Falmouth Bay, south Cornwall. 

Report by David Roberts via Rory Goodall (Elemental Tours)

Video on Kennack Diving (Facebook)
Kennack Diving

Streaked Gurnard
Photograph by Des Glover

The Streaked Gurnard is an unusual discovery in British seas, a rare fish north of the English Channel and usually found at depths in excess of 40 metres in warmer southerly waters including throughout the Mediterranean Sea. 

12 August 2010
A two metre long Shadefish (a Drumfish), Argyrosomus regius, was netted off Portland Bill, Dorset, and landed at Brixham, Devon. This migratory Mediterranean fish is a rare capture in British seas with only two previous BMLSS records of complete fish in 1998 and 2008. The book name Meagre or Maigre was a transcription mistake in an old book and I have discontinued its vernacular use. The capture was of an adult fish weighing 25 kg. This large fish is identified by its yellow or salmon-coloured mouth. It preys on other fishes including Grey Mullet.

BMLSS Shadefish

13 July 2010
The MBA Sepia (coastal research vessel) caught a small Long-finned Gurnard, Chelidonichthys obscurus, in Bigbury Bay, south Devon. This is only the second one recorded in British seas. 

31 July - 16 August 2010
An adult Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, was washed ashore off the coast at St Ives, Cornwall. The heartbreaking addition to the story was a six metre long juvenile Humpback Whale had been seen at nearby Godrevy attracted to a buoy as though it was his mother. The baby whale slowly starved to death over a period of two weeks. 

30 July 2010
The now extremely rare Angel Shark (or Monkfish), Squatina squatina, was accidentally caught off Porthcawl (Wales) in the Bristol Channel. It weighed 16.7 kg and its length was 123 cm including the long tail. The shark was collected by the Natural History Museum for research purposes.

In 2008, the Angel Shark received full legal protection from human activities in the waters off England and Wales from the coast to a distance of 11 km (6.8 mi), under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act. The United Kingdom and Belgium have pushed, unsuccessfully, for this species to be listed on the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) Priority List of Threatened and Endangered Species.
BMLSS Sharks

28 June 2010
Dean Tapley was the first to spot a Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, off the south coast of Devon in the morning in calm seas. He spent about half an hour watching the whale and taking pictures before returning to shore and reporting what he had seen to Paignton Harbourmaster. 
"It was the sound of the water coming out of the blowhole which will stay with him. It was just so loud," said Dean Tapley.

"It has been known for these animals to occasionally enter the western English Channel but very rare for the animal to travel as far east as this and so close to shore." 

BBC News Report with a Movie Recording

Comments by Gemma Veneruso (Sea Watch Foundation)
BMLSS Cetaceans
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

5 June 2010

Adur World Oceans Day 2010

The twelfth Adur World Oceans Day went well in the marquee on Coronation Green, by Shoreham footbridge at the High Street end on the opening Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell of the British Marine Life Study Society was there with the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. 

"The aim of the event is to introduce the young visitors to the world of the 
sea and seashore, an opportunity they may not get. It is an educational 
event with an opportunity for children to participate in the interactive 

Quote by Andy Horton (British Marine Life Study Society)

World Oceans Day on Facebook

4 June 2010
A Red Scorpionfish, Scorpaena scrofa, was caught inside Guernsey's 12 mile limit in a scallop dredge. This warm water and Mediterranean fish is a rare visitor to the English Channel. This small fish has venomous spines on its dorsal, ventral and anal fins. Each spine has a separate venom gland at the base. 
Two Scorpaena scrofa have been recorded from Irish waters so far this year.  Scorpaena scrofa and Scorpaena porcus appear to be more frequently recorded over the last couple of decades than heretofore. Eleven of these records date from 1994 and the earliest from 1884.

9 May 2010
A rarely recorded Oarfish (or Ribbon Fish), Regalecus glesne, was found dead in the small fishing village of Bovallstrand on the west coast of Sweden, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the Norwegian border. This strange elongated deep sea fish measured 3.5 metres. This was a relatively small specimen of the longest fish found in the oceans. The fish was taken to the House of the Sea Museum in Lysekil. The last recorded discovery of an Oarfish in Sweden was in 1879.
Kurt Ove Eriksson, who discovered the fish, initially thought the leviathan was "a big piece of plastic." 

BMLSS Oarfish
Previous Report on the Northumberland coast 2009
BMLSS Beachcombing

22 April 2010
A large Box Crab, Paramola cuvieri, was caught 80 miles west of the Isles of Scilly by skipper Matthew Keast on his boat Harvest Reaper while fishing for Turbot. This rare species of deep-sea crab, normally found at depths of down to three kilometres was landed at Newlyn. 
It was only the seventh recorded since records began in 1900. Despite its long journey from the depths, the crab, which has a claw span of more than a metre, appears in reasonable condition and is being looked after in a specially chilled tank at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.
Curator Matt Slater said: "It looks like something from another planet and has caused quite a stir among all the staff.  It's one of the oddest crabs I've ever seen. It has weird eyes on stalks which look like bicycle handlebars and a strange pair of backward facing pincers.

Previous Report in 2004
Paramola cuvieri on flickr
BMLSS Crustacea

19 April 2010
Recreational angler Troy Waterman discovered the third (and his second) British record of the alien Asian Shore Crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, on the southern end of the west coast of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. It was a female and alive. with a carapace width measured at 23 mm.Photograph © Richard Lord

The Asian Shore Crab has a square-shaped shell with three spines on each side of the carapace. Hemigrapsus sanguineus is indigenous to the western Pacific Ocean from Russia, along the Korean and Chinese coasts to Hong Kong, and the Japanese archipelago.  This species is an opportunistic omnivore, feeding on macroalgae, salt marsh grass, larval and juvenile fish, and small invertebrates such as amphipods, molluscs, Barnacles, and polychaete worms. It is highly reproductive with a breeding season from May to September. This versatile crab inhabits any shallow hard-bottom intertidal or sometimes subtidal habitats. This species has the potential to become an established competitor with native crabs.
Previous Record
Further Information (by Richard Lord)

17-22 February 2010
A 17 metre long Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalis, was spotted by Jean Lawson floating about three kilometres off the shore of north Cornwall. The dead mammal then floated north-east until five days later the huge whale washed up in a cove near Porthtowan, 37 miles away from the first sighting.

Fin Whale washed up at Porthtowan
Photograph by David Fenwick Snr

More Images

Previous Report
Cornish Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network
BMLSS Cetaceans

1 February 2010
On going back up Marazion Beach, south Cornwall, as the tide turned (on the lowest tide of the year) my partner and I looked around some uppershore pools and discovered five Giant Gobies, Gobius cobitus. in three small pools. They averaged about 18 cm in length. 

Giant Goby
Photograph by David Fenwick Snr

This large goby is a very rare find on the south-west shores of Britain and the Channel Islands. The Giant Goby is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act Schedule 5

Full Report & Photographs (Link)
BMLSS Giant Goby Reports
BMLSS Gobies

25 January 2010

Photograph by Victoria Metheringham

A ten metre long Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was discovered after becoming stranded on rocks at Beadnell Bay on on the Northumberland Coast, north-east England. The whale had been dead for several days.

Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

The last BMLSS recorded stranding of a deep water Sperm Whale on the English North Sea coast occurred when two were stranded in separate incidents on North Sea coasts in February 2006.
BMLSS Cetacean Reports

January 2010
Nineteen Ray's Bream, Brama brama, were discovered on the beach at Redcar, north Yorkshire on the east coast of England. 

November 2009 - January 2010

Ray's Bream
Photograph by Bill Ashton-Wickett

Frequent reports of Ray's Bream, Brama brama, being washed ashore on North Sea were received. These strandings occurred in 2009 and earlier years.
List of 2009-2010 Reports
More Reports of Ray's Bream on  flickr

British Marine Life News 2009


Cornish Marine Life Records 2009
BMLSS Oil Disasters page


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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