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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January - March 2014

Link to the main news page for 2014

BMLSS (England) 
Marine Life News 2012
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Link to the Marine Life News web pages for 2011

Norwegian Marine***
to Other Sites
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Link to the Aphoto pages
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Encyclopedia of Marine Life 
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Monthly Marine News Bulletin
Link to the Fishbase web pages
 Cetacean List (NE Atlantic)

CEFAS Marine Monitoring
Link to the Sealife Survey on facebook (Marine Biological Assoc. of the Uk.)
How to obtain the book and review

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World Oceans Day 
BBC Buoy Table (Sea Temperatures, Wave Heights etc.)
Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas


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For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below: 

Winter 2013 News Reports, January - March
Spring 2014 News Reports (Links)
SUMMER 2014 News Reports
Link to the News Reports, October to December 2014


14 June 2014
Adur World Oceans Day

Adur was one of the UK leaders in presenting the thirteenth environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea. Len Nevell of the British Marine Life Study Society presented the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB) took an active role with their display of the wonders of Shoreham Beach. Wildlife writer Steve Savage presented the whale and dolphin exhibition with the life sized replica of a Bottle-nosed Dolphin. Nikki Hills on behalf of the Sussex Wildlife Trust produced an interactive display on the sea and seashore for the younger age group. David and Marion Wood produced a presentation about Widewater Lagoon (brackish lagoon) LNR. Exhibitors were able to find the time to answer questions about marine life.
Other participants included Southwick Camera Club with an exhibition of seascapes and marine life, and Colin Knight and Mark Colvin with a butterfly presentation on the behalf of the Sussex branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society.
World Oceans Day on Facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day.


Late March 2014

Coconut & Martesia fragilis
Photographs by Dave Fenwick Snr (Aphotomarine)

Coconuts (and other flotsam) washed up on Cornish beaches can host exotic ocean travellers all the way from the Caribbean Sea. A Coconut discovered on Newquay Beach, north Cornwall, was discovered to be hosting Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, attached to the outer husk, and a species of Martesia piddock that had burrowed into the shell. These were identified as the vagrant and first British record of Martesia fragilis

Report by Tracey Williams and Paul Gainey

BMLSS Piddocks
BMLSS Goose Barnacles

Beached wood and tree trunks may also contain other organisms like small crabs hitchhiking a ride or more likely burrowing Teredo (=shipworms) molluscs including the Big-eared Shipworm, Psiloteredo megotara, found in a tree trunk on Par Beach, south Cornwall.

BMLSS Strandline
Aphotomarine: Marine Bivalve Images - Gapers, Piddocks and Shipworms (Order Myoida)

14 March 2014
A Slipper Lobster, Scyllarus arctus, was caught in a creel off Newlyn, Cornwall, and photographed and released. 

Scyllarus arctus is a warm water crustacean found in the Mediterranean, and in the Eastern Atlantic from Morocco to the English Channel but is rare north of the Bay of Biscay. They live on stony ground, in caves, and can also be found on muddy bottoms or in seagrass beds. They use the large spade-like scales at the front of the head to burrow into mud, sand or gravel between and under stones. 

Small European Locust Lobster (book name)
Photograph by Will Treneer on Fishing News facebook

Previous Report 2003

9 March 2014
Two Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, were washed up dead in at Scolla Wick, Muness, a small voe in the south east of Unst in Shetland

Sperm Whale
Photograph by Rebecca Nason
Rebecca Nason Photography
Shetland Exposure Blog

BMLSS Cetacean News Reports
BMLSS Cetacean News Reports 2014

3 March 2014
A very large Cod, Gadus morhua, from the shore of 4.36 kg (9 lb 10 oz) caught from Shoreham Harbour arm, West Sussex, was exceptional in itself, but what was even more surprising is that it had swallowed a plastic bottle. Angler Andy Sinclair discovered the bottle after gutting the fish at home. 

Adur Nature Notes (March 2014)

Dealfish by by Traff Cammish28 February 2014
A rather unusual discovery was a Dealfish (Ribbonfish family), Trachipterus arcticus, washed ashore dead at Filey, Yorkshire. This thin elongated fish was a small specimen with a length estimated at 60 cm (max length 2.5 m).

Dealfish by by Traff Cammish

   Photographs by Traff Cammish

The Dealfish (book name) is a mesopelagic deepwater fish and it appears that it is not all that common even in the sea depths of 300 to 600 metres (or 183 to 914) metres form which it has been reported from the NE Atlantic, not normally including the North Sea (but more than one record held by the BMLSS). We have received occasional reports from off the Scottish islands. It may be a frequently caught fish in the Blue Whiting,  Micromesistus poutassou, fishery at depths of over 500 metres off Ireland. 
Live Fish Image
Bathyl Zones
Previous Report
2006 Reports

Two further Dealfish have been reported washed up since the first discovery. The second one was discovered dead on the shore at Peterhead, north-east Scotland, and the third discovery was a decayed specimen on the beach between Marske and Saltburn in north-east England. There were probably more washed up and left unreported amongst the flotsam and jetsam after the recent storms.
BMLSS Strandline

24 February 2014
A Zulu Fish, Capros aper, was discovered by Jess Hughes washed up dead on the shore at Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth, Cornwall.

20 - 21 February 2014 

Sperm Whale
Report & Photograph by Mike Gould

six metre long Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was washed ashore dead on the estuarine mud at South Swale, Isle of Sheppey, north Kent. The whale was present the second day, this time on the south side, just off Seasalter YC. The coastguards sent a tug from Sheerness and waited until the tide came in enough for them to put a rope around its tail then tow it to Sheerness for the autopsy

BMLSS Cetaceans

19 February 2014
juvenile Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was rescued after being washed up alive on Freshwater Beach West in Pembrokeshire, SW Wales. The 17 cm (6.7 in) male turtle was placed in a special quarantine tank at Bristol Aquarium where it is being treated before, hopefully, being returned to warmer Caribbean seas from where it had travelled across the Atlantic Ocean helped by the North Atlantic Gyre (Gulf Stream).

18 February 2014
After the storms, a most extraordinary discovery of a rare Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, washed up on Saltdean Beach, east Brighton, East Sussex, It was unbelievable as it is both the world's rarest sea turtle and thousands of miles out of its natural range, and unprecedented in the seas off Sussex. 
Kemp's Ridley Turtles are listed as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union, with only 35 previous records of the Kemp's Ridley species in UK and Irish waters. According to the Marine Conservation Society the latest estimates suggest that only a few thousand adult females still nest on only one stretch of beach on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

BMLSS Turtles

14 - 16 February 2014

Ancient Submerged Forest at Borth
Photograph by John Ibbotson

The storms at the beginning of the months stripped away the sand and peat at the beach at Borth, Ceredigion, (in the Cardigan Bay part of the Welsh coast), revealing, on the low spring tides, an ancient submerged forest dated to the Bronze Age, 1500 BC or earlier. The stumps of ancient oak, pine, birch, willow and hazel (preserved by the acid anaerobic conditions in the peat) were revealed in greater extent where there used to be sand. Peat is highly combustible and despite the recent heavy rain (peat retains water) the peat bog inland of Borth caught fire

Submerged Forests (Dyfed Archaeology)
Cantre'r Gwaelod

6 February 2014
Scores of Mantis Shrimps, Rissoides desmaresti, were washed ashore at Felpham, near Bognor Regis, West Sussex. They were discovered by Mike Burgess on the strandline. The records from this area were only in ones or twos before.
Report and Photograph by Mike Burgess

3 -- 6 February 2014

The wreck of the railway line at Dawlish
Photographs by Paul Webber on flickr

More storms battered the coast of Cornwall combining with high spring tides, causing flooding and damage, notably at Looe, south Cornwall. On 5 February 2014, the waves wrecked the sea defences and resulted in the closure of the railway main line from Exeter to Penzance. The railway track was undermined at Dawlish by the collapse of the sea wall and ballast. 

13 January 2014

Fisherman Mike Ould (on FV Bronco TH74) landed a 39 cm long silvery sea bream (Sparidae) called a Bogue, Boops boops, fishing inshore off Babbacombe, south Devon, on the east facing coast. This Mediterranean fish is a scarce discovery off the British coast but there does seem to be a population in Babbacombe Bay and shallow seas around Devon and Cornwall as well as around the Channel Islands. The fish appears in small schools so where there is one, there are most likely more of them. 

Report & Photographs by Rachel Irish (Marine Management Organisation MMO at Brixham)

11 January 2014

Sperm Whale
Photograph by Colin Arthur
Sperm Whale
Photograph by Gary Fox

After the recent storms it is was only expected that at least one large whale would be washed ashore. A young 13.8 metre long Sperm Whale, Physeter catodon, was found dead on the mud at Joppa Beach near Edinburgh, on the east coast of Scotland.

BMLSS Cetaceans

6 January 2014

Porthcothan Bay
Photograph by Paul Challinor
Pom Pom Rock
Photograph by Mark Freeman
Dorset Landscapes

Exposed to the Atlantic swell, the Cornish coast suffered remarkable damage after a terrific pounding by the waves blown on to the rocky shore by gale force winds. On the northern rocky coast at Porthcothan Bay a scenic arch and free standing rocky outcrop was destroyed during the night. On the Dorset coast a substantial sea stack known as Pom Pom Rock at Portland was completely obliterated by the storm. 

Porthcothan Bay: Before & After
Image Selection

4 January 2014

Portreath at low tide
Photograph by Helgar Palmer
Portreath at mid-tide
Photograph by Simon Bone
Simon Bone Photography

The end of the harbour wall and granite shelter at Portreath, north Cornwall, was demolished by massive waves propelled by gale force winds and high tides

3 January 2014

The promontory headland town of Ardrossan on the North Ayrshire coast (SW Scotland)
bore the brunt of the winter storms
Photographs (Storm Set 2014) by Peter Ribbeck

Waves battered the south and west coasts of Britain throughout the day, from Cornwall and the south coast, all up the western coasts to Scotland, propelled by high spring tides, gale force winds gusting to storm force and higher, and a small* storm surge

Waves battering the cliff at Rock-a-Nore the day after the cliff fall 
Photograph by Jude Hutchings
Waves at Birling Gap  on flickr
Photograph by Graham Huntley

The most dramatic storm damage occurred when a large area of sandstone cliff at Rock-a-Nore (now part of Hastings, East Sussex) fell into the sea at about 1:30 pm. There was also an appreciable chalk cliff fall near Birling Gap in East Sussex. 
(*The storm surge was 0.5 metres at Newhaven, Sussex.)

Strandline at Dawlish (south Devon) on facebook
Photographic Gallery by Andrew Cleave

Starfish and sand burrowing molluscs like cockles were deposited on the strandline in addition to the usual collection of Mermaid's Purses, whelk egg cases, etc. A Grey Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, was washed onshore off the Gower, south Wales. Scores of the sea cucumber, Thyone fusus, were washed ashore on Newborough, Anglesey. 
The power of the waves was strong enough to move the sand in the shallow water and cause erosion of the shoreline and large displacements of sand and shingle. 
BMLSS Strandline

1 January 2014
The New Year was heralded in by overcast and damp weather. Gales battered all the English and Welsh coasts from dawn and throughout the day.
Beaufort Scale


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