of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents
and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the
NE Atlantic Ocean.
was spotted between Swanage and Studland, Dorset, about half a mile offshore
at approximately 10.30 am.
It was no more than 60 cm in length and moving very slowly. It was swimming
near the surface next to our motor boat on one of the calmest days of the
year so far.
yacht out of Lyme Regis, Dorset, took avoiding action to narrowly miss
Sunfish from Cornish Seas
Fish was caught off the south Devon coast
by the Brixham based beam trawler, MFV. Magdalena and landed on the fish
flying fish is probably Cheilopogon
heterurus, the Atlantic Flying
Fish, but it needs to be checked. Stephen
Rodgers, the fishmonger who bought it on Brixham Fish market, is preserving
it and will be passing it on to me to examine, and then give to collections
in the Natural History Museum in London. While more than twenty flying
fish have been recorded in British waters, principally in the nineteenth
and first half of the twentieth centuries, we have never had definite proof
of which of the three or four possible species they were. However the half
dozen caught in Denmark and Norway have all been Cheilopogon heterurus.
Old records often say those in Britain were Exocoetus volitans but
that is the tropical flying fish which is very unlikely here. The photograph
of this fish shows that this fish was definitely not this species.
A photograph of this fish by Richard Austin was in the 15 July Western
have had two or three probable sightings of flying fish in the last seven
years from yachtsmen in mid-Channel who thought they saw one but could
not be a 100% certain.
Black Sea Bream,
was caught on rod and line from a boat in
St. Andrew's Bay, Scotland. This is a northerly capture location for fish
that breeds in the English Channel and further south.
of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
Salcombe fisherman, Graham Foale,
observed a Minke Whale, Balaenoptera
acutorostrata, about four miles south
of Prawle Point, south Devon. It swam around his boat, Crustacean
SE 35, for about five minutes whilst they
were hauling pots around midday. It came within 15 metres and then slowly
swam off to the east. The head could not be seen but the white markings
on the pectoral fins were evident. He had seen one in the same area
about ten years before.
June - July 2005
bloom of the planktonic dinoflagellate
developed in the Atlantic Ocean and been blown inshore and around the coasts
and into the loughs of north-west Ireland. This microscopic organism is
present in such huge numbers that underwater the sea actually looks green
and the visibility is reduced to a few metres. It releases toxic substances
the sea and compounded by the deoxygenation caused by the dying plankton,
the overall result has been a mass mortality of the sessile and slow moving
organisms like starfish, sea urchins, benthic
(bottom-dwelling) animals, scallops and other molluscs,
worms and even sea anemones. In the enclosed
loughs and in very shallow water, the effects are even worse, with flatfish
and rock pool fish succumbing the effect of
the toxins and anoxic conditions. Dead creatures litter the sea bed providing
food for any crabs that have survived.
Animals in Killary Bay
first is a priapulid
(Priapulida: worm-like animals that live
in the sand), Priapulus caudatus,
and the second a sea cucumber, Thy fusus,
that have succumbed to the effects of the algal bloom.
farms have been located in some of the loughs and their stock of molluscs
and fish can be killed by these naturally occurring algal blooms.
Institute Web Site Report
dived Killary Harbour (a long enclosed sea lough) with
Dr Joanne Porter from Aberystwyth University,
only to find that all the brittlestars in what was an extensive bed; large
molluscs including whelks and scallops; all starfish, all fish (everything
from Blennies, Gobies,
flatfish etc) and many of the infaunal species - (worms, priapulids, sea
cucumbers), were either dead and rotting, or gaping and unresponsive.
The only animals that seemed to be hanging on were the Common
bernhardus, and the Organ-pipe Worm,
vermicularis, which were still extending their tentacles from their
calcareous tubes but retracting them quickly when we approached. On another
dive in the upper reaches of Kilkieren Bay a 'population' of the Fireworks
multiplicatus, were notably moribund and would not retract their
tentacles nor retreat into their tubes when disturbed.
least a dozen Minke Whales, Balaenoptera
acutorostrata, were seen from the CRRU
research vessel in the outer southern Moray Firth (NE Scotland).
At one location, we had three Minke Whales
around the boat at the same time (two adults and a young calf), and they
were lunge feeding, to the left and to the right of us, as the leviathans
struck at the numerous bait balls of sand eels being concentrated at the
surface by corralling mackerel from below and
hoards of feeding birds from above!
a noticeable absence of Minke Whales,
Balaenoptera acutorostrata, in the
outer southern Moray Firth (NE Scotland) in 2004, we are pleased to report
that the animals have returned to their usual feeding haunts once again
in 2005. At least two were definitely observed, and there were certainly
more in poor weather conditions.
of a dozen Sperm Whales, Physeter
catodon, including a calf, were spotted
and Noss in the Shetland Isles (island
off the east mainland). From a vantage point overlooking Noss Sound, we
were rewarded by the sight of a group of Sperm Whales gently drifting eastwards
at a distance of about two miles. Visibility was fairly good and we could
determine the distinctive outline and classic blow through the scope, though
they were a long way out when viewed through binoculars. Despite the variety
of whales and dolphins around the Shetland Isles, Sperm Whales are unusual
in the relatively shallow water for these huge sea mammals. A group is
very rare and the calf may be the first record for the Shetlands. Images
(Shetland Sea Mammal Group)
Cetacea (Whales & Dolphins)
Cetacean News Index 2005
group of seven Leatherback Turtles,
coriacea, were spotted around the Isles of Scilly , south-west of Cornwall.
porcus, was discovered in a fishing
catch caught off Cornwall and brought into Plymouth. This venomous fish
usually lives in the Mediterranean. This appears to be only the second
UK record of the rarer of the two venomous Scorpaena
from European warmer seas.
Report in 1998
landed at Plymouth dockside was a 118 cm (TL) female Bluntnosed
Six-gilled Shark, Hexanchus
griseus, caught on longline due west
of Cornwall (50°N 8°W). This is a deep water predatory shark
Information on Six-Gilled Sharks (by Len Nevell)
Head (the most northerly part of mainland Scotland) whilst watching
the seabirds near the lighthouse we saw at least three Minke
Whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata,
feeding close in amongst the birds.
Dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba,
swam on to the beach at Bembridge on the lsle of Wight. Although the dolphin
did not show any signs of injury attempts to rescue it were in vain.
reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given
other observers or reporters.
Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2004