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 2010

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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.

The Sperm Whale can be seen off the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland, usually sighted alone. As they are a deep water species, they are usually only observed from a boat. The large blunt head and forward angled spout make the Sperm Whale one of the easiest species to identify. 
"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 Steve Savage and Gemma Veneruso (Sea Watch Foundation)
BMLSS Cetaceans
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

19 June 2010
Stuart Exall and Casey Brehaut caught a Cornish Blackfish, Schedophilus medusophagus, in a gill net south of Lihou Island, off the west coast of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. The fish weighed 641 grams with a total length 445 mm
plus a fork length of 393 mm. 
This fish is a mesopelagic species from temperate waters of the north-eastern and north-western Atlantic and the western Mediterranean. It is the first known record from the Channel Islands caught at a depth of under seven metres.

Sustainable Guernsey Report
Previous Report & More Information

19 June 2010 onwards
Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, continue to be seen from the shore off the Cornish coast. 

Porthchaple Beach, Porthcurno, Cornwall
The Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, provide a special attraction
Photograph by Charles Hood

Basking Shark Video on Facebook (by Maria Munn)
Basking Sharks on flickr
BMLSS Basking Sharks
BMLSS Shark & Ray News

June 2009

A Tadpole Fish, Raniceps raninus, was spotted on a dive on the front side of Dawas Rock at Porthkerris, Cornwall, at about 5 meters depth.

5 June 2010

Adur World Oceans Day 2010

The tenth 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. 

25 May 2010
Spiny Seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus (=H. ramulosus)
Spiny Seahorses were spotted in Studland Bay, Dorset.

Pregnant Male Spiny Seahorse at Studland Bay on Facebook (by Neil Garrick-Maidment)
Seahorses Photo Album on Facebook (by Neil Garrick-Maidment)

BMLSS Seahorses

24 May 2010 onwards
Some of the first Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, of the year are spotted off Land's End, Cornwall. "I heard a brief splash as three of the twelve sharks breached the surface" .

Video Film 2009 Link (by Dan Burton)

15 May 2010 onwards

Other Basking Shark reports from off the coast of Cornwall came from Pendeen and Praa Sands and the odd one off the Lizard. Later reports on 18 May 2010 saw the sharks off Porthcurno and Sennen. 

BMLSS Basking Sharks 1
BMLSS Shark & Ray News

14 May 2010
Richard Benyon, Conservative MP for Newbury, has been appointed as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Natural Environment and Fisheries at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1997 Appointments

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. Apparently it's normally found very deep on the edge of the continental shelf which runs from Morocco to Ireland at depths of 3,000 metres," he explained. "Due to the great depths at which they live relatively little is known about giant Box Crabs, but it is thought they live mainly off dead fish they find on the seabed."

Previous Report in 2004
Paramola cuvieri on flickr
Cornish Mailing List

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)
2 April 2010

A Yarrell's Blenny, Chirolophis ascanii, was discovered in a rockpool near Banff in north Scotland.  "It has a fern like horn above its head which looks bright yellow in daylight."  This is an unusual find on the shore and this is only the second report received. Both were from north Scotland. 

Report and Photograph by Mark Butcher



British Marine Life News 2009

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