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NEWS 1999
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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 
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News  2001

29 December 2000
Sub zero temperatures with snow falls in the north of Britain.  At Whitehaven Harbour, Cumbria, the sea froze over completely.

26 December 2000
Helen Freestone found hundreds of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, dead and dying on Mablethorpe beach. Yorkshire, with small (25 - 50 mm) Razor-shells.

Report by Lisa Browning

14 December 2000
Overnight gales combined with high tides wash thousand of tonnes of shingle and other sediment on to the undercliff promenade from Brighton Marina, Sussex, to Rottingdean completely blocking this route from the west. 

7 December 2000
A cliff fall near Swanage, Dorset, sent thousand of tonnes of the waterlogged soft clay and sand soil crashing into the sea. The fall occurred after heavy rain.

7 December 2000
A pod of four Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, were seen from the shore hunting seals at Maywick, Shetland. Killer Whales include seals in their diet where they get the opportunity, but around Britain it is only in the Shetlands do the ordinary public (as distinct from fishermen and other seafarers) get the opportunity to see this. 

28 November 2000
A dead Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, was washed up at Heysham, Lancashire.
Link to Photograph
Report by David Gray on UK Cetnet

21 November 2000
A live Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was taken to New Quay Sea Life Centre after being washed up on Fistral Beach, Cornwall in a very poor condition. It died the following day. 

Report by Rod Penrose via the Vince Smith's One-List/Cornish Wildlife
British Marine Turtle Stranding Network
BMLSS Turtles
Stranded Turtles (Further Information Source)

November 2000
Bill Chadwick reported a rare deep water shark with the name in the book as the Frilled Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus. It was landed in Killybegs, County Donegal, Ireland, by Michael Flannery, on board the Emerald Dawn (out of Kerry I think). This specimen (one out of 3) was sent to the Museum of Natural History in Dublin for examination.  These animals were caught as part of an on going deep sea survey in search for commercially viable deep water species run by BIM (Board Iasca Mhara). All the information was confirmed by John Hackett of BIM. 

Details by Grainne Mooney
Fishbase Entry
BMLSS Sharks page

26 October 2000 
At least 50 Portuguese Man o'War, Physalia physalis, are discovered washed up still alive on the Sussex coast at Brighton. This has happened before, but not in the last 20 years. 

Report by Dr Gerald Legg, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton

Portuguese Man o'War
                    (Photograph by Dr Gerald Legg)
Portuguese Man o'War

6 - 9 October 2000
Hundreds of Portuguese Man o'War, Physalia physalis are washed up on an off-shore spit outside Perelle Beach, Guernsey, Channel Islands, by north- westerly winds, with others discovered on the west coast Cobo and Saline beaches. 
Cornish Report
Chesil Beach Report

Report by Tony Bougourd to Richard Lord (Guernsey)

8 October 2000
Paul Gainey discovered a large haul of cuttlebones on the Cornish beach of Perranporth after some steady winds. Not exceptional in itself, but they did include all three species of Sepia found in British seas, including the smallest species Sepia elegans

Report by Stella Turk
Cuttlefish: earlier report from Cornwall
Cuttlefish Pages (Matt Stribley - Revised Site)
Cuttlefish: new cuttlebones identification file

7 October 2000
Six  Atlantic White-sided Dolphins,  Lagenorhynchus acutus, are stranded on the shore near Brora, Sutherland, north-west Scotland.  Three of the animals were stranded alive but only one was successfully rescued.
Information at Cetnet Digest 177
Also, a 1 metre diameter Ocean Sunfish has been found stranded (dead) on the shore at North Kessock, Inverness.

An Atlantic White-sided Dolphin was also washed up dead at Croyde Beach in  north Devon shore later in October. The was the first recorded stranding in the south-west since 1974.
from Jenny Glanville (Devon WT), on behalf of Seaquest SW via  UK CetNet

6 October 2000
A school of 100 dolphins, mostly (80%+) Striped Dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba, were seen off the Isles of Scilly by Tim Brereton. A detailed report was posted on UK CetNet (16 October 2000) which included a definite identification of over 50 of these dolphins leaping clear of the water. 
BMLSS Cetacean page

4 October 2000
Guernsey Sea Fisheries Officer Roger Sendall while on board the French trawler, "Melisandre" witnessed the landing of a 1.7 metre long Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, weighing about 15 kg. The Swordfish was trawled aboard 11 nautical miles north-west of Pleinmont Point, Guernsey.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Further Information and other Swordfish reports (British seas)

30 September 2000
Waterspout (Tornado causing the sea to be disturbed) was filmed off Woodingdean, Brighton, Sussex. Tornadoes are occasionally encountered off the Sussex coast during autumn, (more likely than other British coasts) and are only really notable when they cause damage on land, and even then they are often ignored by the press. 
Goose Barnacles (Photograph
                  by Jenny Nunn)
September 2000
Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, were washed up between Seaton and Axmouth, in Lyme Bay, Dorset, on fenders from an American boat, so they may have drifted all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Report by Jenny Nunn (Axmouth Sea Discovery Centre)
Barnacle Page (including reports from Cornish shores)

27 September 2000
A monster Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus, of 240 kg (529 lb 2 oz) was caught on road and line off Ireland by Alan Glanville an Englishman living and working as a commercial fisherman in Ireland, along with another the day before of 160 kg (352 lb 12 oz) while fishing aboard Brian McGilloway's boat 'Suzanne' only 2 miles out of Killybegs in Donegal Bay, north west Ireland. Alan's specimen is one of the biggest ever angled off Ireland and anywhere for the past few decade.
The British angling record is a fish of 386 kg (851 lb) from off Whitby, Yorkshire, in 1933.
The record specimen Bluefin caught by rod and line was an enormous 679 kg (1,496 lb) specimen caught off Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1979.

Len Nevell Angling Reports
BMLSS Tunny Page

20 September 2000
The Worldwide Fund for Nature (UK) publish the
WWF-UK Marine Health Check
by Chris Berry  2000
The Report is at:

17 September 2000
A Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was seen by James Wiseman three miles north of Hopeman in the Moray Firth. It was about 2.5 metres long.Although commonly seen off the Cornish coast in the summer and autumn, they are much rarer off north-eastern Scotland. 
On 5 October 2000 another Leatherback Turtle was spotted by John Garden, two miles north of Whitehills, Banff, chomping on a Lion's Mane Jellyfish
On 11 November 2000, Hugh Harrop reported a Leatherback Turtle rescued from creel pots in Basta Voe in the Shetlands. More.
BMLSS Turtles

Report by Witek Mojsiewicz (Aberdeen)

A pod of over fortyBottle-nosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were seen swimming north from Peterhead,  south breakwater, NE Scotland. The pod included juveniles. 

7 September 2000
George Staples, a recreational fisherman fishing for Black Sea-Bream, Spondyliosoma cantharus, landed a Guinean Amberjack, Seriola carpenteri, originally identified as a Greater Amberjack, Seriola dumerili, to the east of Herm Island (Channel Islands, east of Guernsey) at a fishing mark called Noir Pute about 1.5 miles from Belvoir Bay. 

He was fishing in 25 to 45 metres of water depth (the water depth is very variable at the mark). The Amberjack took a sand eel bait. The fish weighed 645 grams. This Amberjack is previously unknown in the English Channel. The identification has been confirmed by Alwyne Wheeler. 
On 11 September 2000, Bas Gaudion also caught an identical fish north-east of Roque au Nord to the north-east of L'Ancresse Bay, Guernsey.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
More Information
Fishbase Entry

5 September 2000
A pod of 12 Bottlenosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, (at least two young and one very large individual, possibly male?) were seen coming through the Kyle of Lochalsh, western Scotland; they did a circuit within the Loch before eventually going out under the Skye bridge and around to Broadford Bay. Bottlenosed dolphins are rare around Skye. 

More Information
BMLSS Cetacean page

3 September 2000
Scientists from New York's Cornell University Bioacoutistics Research Program,  using US navy recording equipment, have discovered the presence of  Blue Whales,  Balaenoptera musculus, thought to number about 30 to 50 of these huge cetaceans about 50 miles south of Fastnet off the southern Irish coast. This is the first record of their presence for over a century, since they were hunted off Ireland. Blue Whales swim over large areas off the oceans and are expected to move to deeper water during the winter.

28-31 August 2000
The Northern Bottle-nosed Whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus, visited Broadford Bay, Isle of Skye, but only stayed for a short time this year. The whales were very active and breached regularly for periods between one and two hours, giving spectacular displays.

More Information
BMLSS Cetacean page

29 August 2000
Worm Pipefish, Nerophis lumbriciformis, was discovered underneath an Enteromorpha (green straggly seaweed) covered rock on Worthing beach, West Sussex. This small fish is very common on certain rocky and weedy shores, in Cornwall and Devon as well, but decreases in frequency quite quickly in an easterly direction. 

Worthing Pier and beach
                  (Photograph by Andy Horton.)

Worthing Beach. There are a few rocks amongst the sand, but nothing for Fucus serratus to attach to.

There has been at least two Sussex records before, but I have never discovered it before in over 1000 shore visits.
Worthing Pier Rockpooling Report 3
BMLSS Pipefish pages

27 August 2000
A pod of about 20 Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, (including some young) worked their way down the North coast of the Sound of Mull at the end of August. They stayed within 100 metres of the shore at all times, spending quite a time in Lochaline itself.

Report by Davy Holt

24/25 August 2000
Off  Ness Point, near Whitby, north Yorkshire, Alastair Forsyth observed a pod of around 30 Harbour Porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, whilst spotting sea birds. Usually, there will only be a handful of Porpoises, if they are present. What was even more surprising was that he saw a couple of larger cetaceans over 1 km out to sea through his telescope. These were not identified but they are now thought to be Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalus.

20 August 2000
The Sea Fan,Eunicella verrucosa, was discovered by Mike Markey on a reef in Poole Bay, Dorset, at a depth of 13-16 metres at high tide. It was 25 cm high and about 18 cm wide. This may be the most easterly record of this cnidarian off the north coast of the English Channel. The nudibranch Tritonia lineata was also common. 
BMLSS Sea Fans Information

20 August 2000
Severe localised weather reported on the coast at Pwllheli, north Wales with 15 cm deep layer of hailstones, that also occurred on the east coast at Hull, appearing like snow on the ground at an air temperature of 14° C. At Cleethorpes on the east coast, a tornado was filmed over the sea.

August 2000
A Saddled Bream, Oblada melanura, of 440 grams (15 oz 8 dr.) was caught from St Austell Bay, Cornwall. This was the first reported catch of this species by an angler from UK waters. This species is normally found in the Mediterranean and its usual northerly limit is off the Biscay coast. This one was 31 cm long (max length of 35 cm). 
It was identified by experts at the National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth.
Fishbase Entry
Picture of this species (not this fish)

Len Nevell Angling Reports
August 2000
ARed Band Fish, Cepola rubescens, was caught on rod and line by Gwynne Evans (Swansea), when fishing for Mackerel in the Angle Bay area of Milford Haven near Thorne Island, Pembrokeshire. It seems to be near the maximum length of 70 cm.
Photograph on the Fishing Board Forum
Two others have also recently been caught in Plymouth Sound (Plymouth records from Doug Herdson (National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth)
Sussex Record
Fishbase Entry

16 August 2000
The small tunny known as the Bonito, Sarda sarda, was caught by Jimper Sutton in the nets set for Mackerel off Winchelsea beach, East Sussex. 

 Illustration by Roberto Cada  (Fishbase)

It weighed about 1 kg. Divers have seen tunnies (tuna) in the Mackerel shoals off Sussex, but the fish are rarely caught.
BMLSS Tunny page
Fishbase Entry
Unusual Sussex Marine Fish

12 August 2000
The sleek lines of 4 Blue Sharks, Prionace glauca, were seen 7 miles off the Bishop's Rock, off the westernmost tip of Cornwall. Fish is thrown overboard to attract Wilson's Petrels and other sea birds and the sharks arrive. 

10 August 2000
In a watch of 3 hours from Girdle Ness (briefly) and Souter Head, Cove, all 
near Aberdeen, north-east Scotland, at least 40 White-beaked Dolphins, Lagenorhyncus albirostris, showed over a very wide area of sea in great viewing conditions. They seemed to be travelling slowly south with the current. Some were breaching clear of the water, one performing backflips in rapid succession. It was an amazing sight: no other cetaceans were seen for certain - all had sharply recessed, curved dorsal fins, though the amount of white along the dorsal surface behind the fin was variable and could be tricky to see against the light. One dolphin had a pronounced white leading edge to the dorsal fin, but it was only seen once.

Report from Nick Picozzi & Alan Knox on Grampian Wildlife News
9 August 2000

Sunfish, Mola mola, was seen in South Cardigan Bay, West Wales. It was about 1 mile offshore and off Ynys Lochtyn headland. On 24 August, Phillip Osborne also saw a Sunfish off St. David's Head, Pembrokeshire and on 26 August, Will Thomas spotted one off Caldey, Pembrokeshire. On 3 September, Roger Heginbotham saw his first one in Barmouth Bay, Wales.
BMLSS Sunfish page
Fishbase Entry
First Report by Julie Hopkins

7 August 2000
Most of the oil has now been removed from the sunken oil tanker Erika off the west coast of France.
Oil Recovery from Sunken Tanker Erika Nearly Complete 2000 (Link)

3 August 2000
A Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, was spotted eating a Common Seal, Phoca vitulina, pup on a normal Common Seal rookery on the shore of the Isle of Skye, western Scotland. One Common Seal had her pup much later than all the others and it appeared to be this pup that got eaten.

More Information (Battle of the Seals)
BMLSS Seals Page

1 August 2000

The British Marine Wildlife Forum commences.  PLEASE JOIN


Whereas all reports on this news page have to be checked for their authenticity, as far as possible, speculative discoveries like a Dolphin Fish, Coryphaena hippurus, in the Camel estuary, north Cornwall, can be entered on the forum, and also discussions, queries, questions etc. 

31 July 2000
Five Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, were spotted by Lee Marshall off Gosport, near Portsmouth, Hampshire. These dolphins although frequently seen off Cornwall are notable if seen this far east.

24 July 2000
A Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, was observed between the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall, from the ferry "Scillonian".  On 20 August 2000, 6 Leatherback Turtles were spotted from the same ferry. 

Reports on Vince Smith's One-List/Cornish Wildlife
Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)
Minke Whale washed up on the Dorset coast in 1999 (link)

22 July 2000
A dead Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was washed up in the outer Thames estuary, on the north Kent coast at Warden Point. The 50 tonne whale had been dead for a long time. Sperm Whales are rare in the North Sea.

Report on the local television and reported by Vince Smith and John Stevens

17 July 2000
An Electric RayTorpedo nobiliana, was caught, whilst fishing for Nephrops (Scampi), 8 miles north of Lossiemouth, Moray Firth, NW Scotland, by the Banff registered vessel "Charisma". The ray immediately made one of the crew aware of it's identity by giving him an electric shock. It has found a temporary home in the MacDuff Public Aquarium but it is not on public display because of the danger to the public in their open ray tank. It will be returned to sea. This species is the commoner of the two species of Electric Ray found around Britain (the other one is the Marbled Electric Ray, Torpedo marmorata); both are generally southern species and are much rarer further north. This species is one that divers should be warned not to touch, if they spot a ray swimming in mid-water. Most records from British seas are in the summer and autumn. 

Report by Witek Mojsiewicz (Aberdeen)

 9 July 2000
A pod of over 30 White-sided Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus, were chasing herring during a fishing competition off north-east Unst in the Shetland Isles, and a pod of about 25 White-sided Dolphins and a Minke Whale were seen off Hermaness (Unst). Another pod of 20 White-sided Dolphins were at the north end of Lerwick Harbour in the morning.
Reports from Shetland Isles (link for marine news only) which also includes Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, reports. 

July 2000
The Axmouth Sea Discovery Centre is opened at Axmouth, Devon (between Sidmouth and Lyme Regis). This is the smaller type of Public Aquarium, with the seawater pumped in from the Axe estuary. 

Report by Jenny Nunn (Axmouth Sea Discovery Centre)

30 June 2000
Large Porbeagle Sharks, Lamna nasus, have been spotted cruising by the south west Casquets bank north of Guernsey, Channel Islands, leisurely robbing long-lines set for Bass by biting the fish in half, with gapes of about 12 cm in the prey.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey) 
More Information

29 June 2000
A large Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, was discovered dead, entangled in the nets of a fishing boat a couple of miles off Plymouth in the English Channel. The turtle was nearly 2 metres in the length and was estimated to weigh about 150 kg (300-400 lb). 

Another Leatherback Turtle, 2 metres long, was reported by Brixham Coastguards swimming strongly on 5 July 2000It was seen a quarter mile off Start Point, Devon.
This is the third one in Cornish seas in 10 days - the first was off the Runnelstone.

Report by Stella Turk
Turtle Reports (BMLSS)

28 June 2000
A pair of Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae were seen off Sumburgh Head, the most southerly headland of the Shetland Isles. they were seen around the same time last year.

19-20 June 2000
A pod of 10 White-sided Dolphins,  Lagenorhynchus acutus, were spotted in the evening and morning off Catfirth (east Mainland) in the Shetland Islands.
News Report 1999 from the Shetlands
Shetland Wildlife Pages Report (link includes other cetacean reports of Killer Whales and Dolphins)
Shetland Isles (link for marine news only)
Cetacean Page (BMLSS)

18 June 2000
A small Sunfish was seen in Poole Bay (about 1.5 miles south of Bournemouth) by Mike Markey.
BMLSS Sunfish page

Snake Pipefish
                  (Photograph by Paul Parsons)June 2000
Paul Parsons discovered a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, off Worthing Pier, a reasonably rare discovery off the Sussex coast, although they are likely to be under-recorded.
BMLSS Snake Pipefish file
Previous Sussex Record

17 June 2000
Two anglers on a charter boat spotted a Billfish jumping out of the sea between the islands of Guernsey and Herm (Channel Islands, English Channel). The fish was not positively identified but it was probably a Swordfish Xiphias gladius.
The fish were close by for a number of minutes, performing acrobatics on three or four occasions.  They were quite large, the biggest was possibly 2 metres long, and each had a long spear-like snout.

Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey) & Len Le Page (Guernsey Press)
Further Information and other Swordfish reports (British seas)

16 June 2000
A pod of 12 White-beaked Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, were seen off Hermaness (Unst) in the Shetland Islands in the morning and a further 8 were spotted in Lerwick Harbour.
Shetland Wildlife Pages Report (link includes other cetacean reports of Killer Whales and Dolphins)
Whale & Dolphin Page (BMLSS)

13 June 2000
David Thompson at Shambles Bank, Weymouth Dorset, caught a record specimen of the Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, 95.67 grams (3 oz 6 drm).  Accepted by the British Record (rod-caught) Fish Committee, in October 2001.

June 2000
mass mortality event occurred off County Donegal, north-western Ireland, of Nereis/Arenicola worm populations in an area called Loughros Point, on a long sandy beach outside Ardara. All the polychaetes in this area left the benthos and died over a two day period.
The second was much large and located at Nairn beach, Portnoo about 6 miles further round the coast from the first event. It happened about a week later.  This is a 4 mile long sandy beach and for the entire stretch there were thousands of dead Echinocardium cordatum (Sea Potato or Heart Urchin) washed up on the
shore. Several weeks later a red tide alert was given and harvesting of molluscs 

Report by Grainne Mooney (Dublin)
11 June 2000
A fishermen from Guernsey reported an ovigerous ("in berry") male Spiny Spider Crab, Maja squinado. The crab had the large chelipeds (claws) and other features that characterise the male of this crab. Asymmetrical specimens have been recorded before, some coloured blue
More Information and Report Details
Spiny Spider Crab Page
Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)

June 2000
Rohan Holt has discovered several of the attractive sea anemone Amphianthus dohrnii around the Firth of Lorne off the west coast of Scotland. This anemone is usually brown and in British waters is extremely rarely recorded on the pink Sea Fan Eunicella verrucosa. They were found between 25 and 40 metres of water, and deeper, on a dive.

Amphianthus dohrnii on
                  Swiftia pallata (Photograph by Rohan Holt)

On the east side of Eilean Dubh Mor (just NW of Lunga, Firth of Lorne) he found from one to six or seven Amphianthus on almost every white Sea Fan Swiftia pallidain sight. This anemone living on Swiftia pallida has not been recorded before in British seas. Swiftia pallida was found on slightly silty, moderately tide-swept but wave-sheltered circalittoral bedrock.

Arachnanthus sarsi
                  (Photograph by Paul Turkentine)

Rohan Holt also discovered the very rare anemone Arachnanthus sarsi just off this island (Eilean Dubh Mor) as well as the more common Fireworks Anemone Pachycerianthus multiplicatus. These anemones were found at depths of between 31 and 35 metres.

More Information
Sea Anemone Homepage (BMLSS)
Rohan Holt's Mantis Shrimp report
Biomar (essential extra information and a photograph of Amphianthus dohrnii on Eunicella verrucosa is contained on this database).

The deep water Northern Featherstar  Leptometra celtica was also discovered in these shallow seas around the Firth of Lorn area (Garvellachs, Scarba, Jura etc).
Featherstars Information Page

8 June 2000

3 June 2000
A school of 20 to 30 Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, remained in the St. Ives area, Cornwall,  for more than a day.

from Steve Hollier, on the list collated by Ray Dennis
Basking Sharks 2000 (Cornwall)
Shark Page (BMLSS)

22 May 2000
Over the last two weeks Cuttlefish have been found (sometimes by the thousand) on the strandline on both the north and south coasts of Cornwall. Large numbers have also been seen floating on the surface out at sea. On 2 June 2000 Matt Stribley counted over 500 cuttlebones on a 500 metre stretch below Phillack Towans.

Cuttlefish (photograph by Bob Alexander)        

Photograph of a Dead Cuttlefish
                            (incomplete) by David Wood

Cuttlefish Sepia officinalis

Two species are involved, mainly the Common Cuttle, Sepia officinalis, and the uncommon Sepia orbignyana (5%) which is smaller and has a pink tinge. The cuttlebones of Sepia orbignyana have longer apical spines (Matt Stribley). A range of sizes of the Common Cuttle have been seen and they are complete, with for example, no teeth marks to indicate that they have been eaten.

Reports by Vince Smith & John Worth

There seems to be a lot of both cuttlefishes and squids around this year.
The Cuttlefish probably could have died naturally after spawning, but there were a large numbers of smaller cuttlebones from reduced sized (juvenile?) specimens.

You have to be very careful with the identification of the two cuttlebones. It is the angle of the spine that is important and you will have to go to Matt Stribley's site below to see the small detail. In old specimens of Sepia officinalis the cartilage on the outside of the cuttlebone can break away and then the shape will resemble that of Sepia orbignyana.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages
Cuttlefish File (BMLSS)
Cuttlefish Pages (Matt Stribley)


19 May 2000
A pod of 5 Killer Whales were seen off Sumburgh Point, the most southerly headland of the Shetland Isles in the early afternoon. This is a good viewing area for whales and dolphins.
June 1999 Cetaceans off Sumburgh Point

18 May 2000
41 stranded Portuguese-Man-O-War, Physalia physalis, were found on Hannafore Point, and later, three on East Looe Beach and eight in Polperro Harbour, Cornwall.
The strandings followed several days of strong south-westerly winds.
Report by Jon Makeham
17 May 2000
A pink (leucistic) Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, was seen around the Isle of Skye, western Scotland. As soon as the seal saw the boat, it took to the water straight away. The other seals continued to lay around on the rocky shore. The seal remained pink in colour even when wet, they normally turn dark. It was clearly visible under the surface due to its light colour. BMLSS Seals Page

2 May 2000
The small fish-eating bird the Little Egret that has invaded the English Channel estuaries in the last few years has now been seen and photographed in the Shetland Islands, only the seventh time on record.
Shetland Wildlife Pages Report
Adur Estuary report (Sussex) includes a photograph

24 April 2000
Several Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, were seen from the ferry Scillonian on its way from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly . On 28 April 2000, a Basking Shark was trapped in Penzance lock until it was released at high tide.

Reports by Vince Smith & Ray Dennis
Vince Smith's One-List/Cornish Wildlife
Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)

9 April 2000
Bearded Seal from 1956Bearded Seal, Erignathus barbatus, visited Mid Yell Voe in the Shetland Isles from 11:00 - 15:30 hrs, providing splendid views for the fortunate watchers.
This common Arctic species has only been recorded off the Shetland Isles on 10 previous occasions, the first recorded in 1956 on cine film by Gordon Coward. The Bearded Seal has been seen on several occasions since,  until at least 4 June 2000.

Reported by Hugh Harrop
Bearded Seal (More information)
SCS Bearded Seal Information
Seals Page (BMLSS)
Shetlands Seal Page

5 April 2000
Tens of thousands of gallons of china clay waste (mica suspension) were accidentally discharged by ECC into the river Fal at St Dennis, south Cornwall, some ten miles from the sea. 
Mica is not toxic, it forms an opaque surface suspension which blocks out sunlight. Heavy rainfall diluted the discharge and there were no reports of fish kills or damage to the Fal estuary.

Report by Jon Makeham and update by Ruth Adams

March 2000
The first Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, of the summer was seen in Booby's Bay, Cornwall. The 3 metre plus shark (10-footer) was spotted by Clive James, from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. Last summer the same stretch of coast was the scene of spectacular visits by groups of Basking Sharks.

21 March 2000
28 dolphins have been found dead on Cornish beaches in the last three weeks, as well as 14 in South Devon. Five were discovered in St Ives Bay alone in the last two days. All confirmed identifications are of Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis.
From the Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages
1997 Report

18 March  2000 
A male Cuvier's Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris, was washed up dead on Ballyconnel beach in Co. Sligo, Ireland. This deep water whale is only rarely seen in British seas.
Report by Brad Robson (link)
Irish Whale & Dolphin Group web pages

13 March 2000
Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, swam up the River Thames as far as the House of Commons and provided an unusual sight for Londoners and tourists. Two days later a Harbour Porpoise was found washed up dead near Battersea, and this was almost certainly the same animal.

Second Report by Paul Gosling
6 March 2000
At least 7 Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, were found washed up dead on the shores of Guernsey,  at Houmet, Grand Rocques and near Rocquaine Bay and outside the entrance to St. Peter Port Harbour. Other Common Dolphins, perhaps hundreds, were washed up dead on the Brittany coast, France.
Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
4 March 2000
Ten Risso's Dolphins, Grampus griseus, were seen from Carn Gloose, near St.Just-in-Penwith, Cornwall. These dolphins are rarely recorded, but have been more commonly seen in the last few years off the Cornish coast. 
Report by Vince Smith
Vince Smith's One-List/Cornish Wildlife
Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)

17 February 2000
A Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis, was reported off Woolacombe, north Devon by David Jenkins Nick & Karen Constable. This whale is usually found in deep seas and this unusual occurrence has not been reported in these news reports before. The following day there were two further reports by Ferns Penwith at Porthgwidden St.Ives, and another one from the Harbour Master at Port Loo St.Mary's.
Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)

February 2000
About one hundred Starfish, Asterias rubens, and dozens of Heart Urchins, Echinocardium cordatum, were found washed up on the strandline at Southport, Lancashire. 

Report by Nicola Moore (Warrington)
Mass Mortality of the Heart Urchin

31 January 2000
A decomposing Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was washed ashore at Vaila on the Shetland Islands. There are close-up photographs of the huge whale by John Leach on the Shetland Wildlife Pages
Shetland Sea Mammal Report 1998

28 January 2000
A crab fisherman gave me a live nudibranch Tritonia hombergi.  I placed it in a black bucket with aeration and it spawned on 1 February 2000. It weighed 35 grams after spawning and it was 12 cm long when crawling... quite a frilly beautiful animal.  The crab fisherman who gave it to me said that he was noticing a lot of spawn on his crab potting gear.  It appears the Tritonia hombergi crawled into his pot to spawn. 

  Report by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
Other Records

January 2000
Large Cod, Gadus morhua, are being caught on rod and line from chartered fishing boats in the English Channel, around the Isle of Wight. The largest, caught off Swanage, Dorset, weighed 17.7 kg and at least 4 specimens exceeded 13.6 kg (30 lb). 

Len Nevell Angling Reports

 25 January 2000
A collision took place between an Irish fishing boat and a Spanish ship around 130 km (80 miles) west of the Aran Islands, Ireland, releasing upwards of 500 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the sea, which is expected to disperse naturally before it hits land.

21 January 2000
9 Dolphins including 'Benty' reported following small surveying boat on repeated north/south tracks leaping out of the sea repeatedly in Plymouth Sound, Devon, where dolphins are not normally reported in winter. 
Report by Roger Collins

20 January 2000
The French are still attempting to clear up the mess, the oil plastered over the shore from the Erika. If the bird loss reports are accurate, this oil tanker disaster may be even worse than the Amoco Cadiz (1978).

17 January 2000
In the course of checking the strandline early one morning at Porthcothan Bay, 11-year-old Tom Neale picked up several Mermaids' Purses, one of which held a hidden surprise. One had a dead Ray (probably a Thornback) inside. 
Original report on:
Mermaid's Purses (BMLSS)

13 January 2000
A pod of 4, possibly 5, White-sided Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus, were seen in Scalloway harbour, Shetland Islands, are reported by Martin Holmes to the Shetland Wildlife Pages where they were photographed from a distance by Bill Jackson, but the dorsal fins can be clearly discerned. A week earlier one of same species of dolphin was washed ashore dead at Cat Firth (near Nesting, east Mainland) in the Shetlands.

9 January 2000
A Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, was seen by Jean Lawman and Paul Semmers off Carn Gloose, on the westernmost tip of the Cornish coast and recognised by the distinctive blows. Four days later, Jean Lawman spotted another one 5 miles off Gwennap Head, Cornwall.
Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)

7 January 2000
The oil from the oil tanker Erika (see below) washes up in large quantities on the Brittany coast, France, smothering wildlife, including the worse loss of sea bird life from a tanker disaster in the North Atlantic Ocean, and possibly the world, with a figure of 100,000+ being mentioned. The French oyster fisheries are likely to be badly damaged by oil tainting.
Planet Ark News pages:
About 300,000 birds affected by French oil spill
EU pledges action to improve oil tanker safety
French wreck probe finds no big leaks in rear hull

2 January 2000
Doug Herdson (National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth) spotted a 5 metre long Basking Shark feeding in S. Mounts Bay, SW Cornwall. Basking Sharks are normally only seen in summer and are meant to stop feeding during the winter. 
Other Winter reports can be found on the list collated by Ray Dennis:

12 December 1999
A small oil tanker Erika with 26,000 tonnes of diesel fuel oil (the worse type of oil for causing environmental damage) sinks off the Biscay coast of Brittany in gale force winds. 
The Erika split in two 45 miles (70 km) south of Brittany's rugged Finistere Peninsula on Sunday morning in 100 km (60 mile) winds and 6 metre (20 foot) waves. The total oil cargo is expected to be released into the sea, although some remains on board in the large tanks. 
By 22 December 1999 the prospects looked very grim with the oil slick not broken up by the gales, and it has been blown inshore. The toll of sea birds deaths is already very high.
A figure of 100,000+ birds was announced on television on 6 January 2000.
Oilspills Page
Oiled Birds Page
Lycos Erika News & Photographs

Shetland Wildlife 
News & Information on the Wildlife of Shetland

Cornish Wildlife
Vince Smith's One-List/Cornish Wildlife
Send a message to the list at:

Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)

Cornish Marine Wildlife Reports 2000 (by Ray Dennis)

British Marine Life Study Society
News 1999

Use these links if your are familiar with the scientific classifications of marine life
The BMLSS (England) site commenced on 1 January 1997.

Andy Horton

Andy Horton, Webmaster

Copyright 2000 © British Marine Life Study Society

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The Little Egret was seen to eat small
        Bass Swiftia
        pallida Amphianthus dohrnii Amphianthus dohrnii Sepia officinalis Sepia orbignyana