You are on page 1of 28

Events and Observations in 2014 (SWME15)

Version 5th April 2015

Bob Earll 01531 890415

22- 100
102 - 121
231 - 240
243 - 294
296 - 341
343 - 409

Weather - Oceanography - Plankton

Fish - Pelagics - fish observations - sunfish - basking sharks - sharks Birds
Storms 2013 - 2014 from SWME14 Observations

Columns Column A is the recorder number - see names and
Grouping The observations in some categories have been grouped
Grouping and the Text for the 2014 report: the groupings within
each category could form the basis of the sub-headings of the 2014
Other reports: These observations need to be linked with other
reports: CWT Strandings, SeaQuest, Seasearch, Bird reports, Relative
Dupicated records - where observations relate to two or more
categories some of these have been copied - duplicated in to more
SWME14 Observations There are also observations on the winter
storms in the Excel file of observations from the SWME14
conference - when the observations from the start of the year were

Weather - Oceanography - Plankton

16 Weather -Rivers
44 Weather



18 Weather
19 Weather
21 Weather

Higher flow and faster flow, also pH changes in some rivers

Change in beach topography
Huge deposits of sand in Lyme Bay:
- Blasted benthic community
- All observations in talk
Loss of sand at Whitsand and Pras (?) and then return of sand banks
Winter storms
Storms in Newquay and surrounding beaches
Major storms and high tides - damage to coastline
Very warm spring - last March was very warm and sunny - early
Fantastic summer leading to calm seas and ideal conditions for sea
Longer periods of bad weather, Spring delayed and Winter
Seaton Beach nr Looe Cornwall - Seaton river changed course
significantly on beach after February storms. New reefs exposed,
Masses of sand washed into Wembury obliterating some of the rock
pools and creatures that lived there (all went over water)
Storms from Jan-March unusually inclement period of weather affected patterns of fishing effort and likely impacts on coastal

22 Weather
26 Weather



40 Weather
41 Weather

53 Weather
57 Weather
57 Weather
59 Weather
61 Weather
62 Weather
63 Weather
65 Weather

66 Weather
68 Weather
70 Weather
77 Weather

52 Weather Feb 2014

50 Weather/Benthos

Stormy winter (understatement) - Just for example, between Feb

4th and Feb 14th we had four major storms from a SW/SSW
direction. Very damaging to infrastructure and property. Seabirds
washing ashore (mainly guillemots) dead or dying. Mousehole Bird
Hospital were full - said they were full of auks. Birds were
undernourished and weak. This followed a January full of westerly
storms which damaged the north coast, a terribly wet and windy
(northerly) December - flooding on Levels and storm surge down
Storms! (Kelp/Washed rocky shore) - Hotter summer (more long
2014 Winter Storms - Huge increase in suspended sediment
(increased BDMLR call outs for stranded seal pups). This obviously
decreased light penetration, did this have any noticeable affect on
planktivores? Ripped up brown algaes (noticeably kelp spp). How
Winter 2014 Storms - Pink sea fans washed ashore on Wembury's
The winter 2014 storms
High storms in Plymouth -> very rough seas, very high tide levels
Extreme winter storms 2014 - particularly the Plymouth Sound
valentine's day storm when we all thought Cawsand dock tower
Winter storms
Storms of February 2014, particularly flooding from high tides and
damage from tidal surge - worse than severe storms of Autumn
2003 (or 2004?). Based on my experience as a home-owner on
Summer - warm sea temperatures and good weather
Thunder storm - July - Scillies - extraordinary intense display
lightning and thunder every few seconds
Storms in late 2013/early 2014 dramatically altered the coverage
and make-up of the macroalgae on Mount Batten, noted in my
Unprecedented storms; hugely destructive effects on beaches with
extreme loss of sediment e.g. at Slapton Sands. Some beaches now
Big winter storm in 2014 - increased wave height and storm
intensity. Movement of sediment and sand relocation. Erosion and
South Devon coast very bad visibility due to land slides and
upwelling of sediment due to 2014's storms
Heavy winter storms - large number of egg cases reported to Great
Egg case Hunt, including huge number of Cuckoo Rays and Blond
Winter storms - Changes in algal species and cover on rocky shores
and seabeds resulting from stripping of algae in storms. Bare
seabed and overturned/broken boulders filmed in Kimmeridge Bay
Flat calm all summer, no surf and perfect weather for sea watching
Winter storms inc in marine strandings - birds, seal pups, uncovering
of wreaks and petrified forests. North coast of Cornwall (Polzeath,
Storms and effects on diver visibility
Back in February I went for a walk along Dawlish Warren, just after
the severe storms. Along the beach were a huge number of dead
birds, but almost all of them (23 out of 25 observed) were
Razorbills. The other two birds were Guillemot. There was also a
huge number of lesser spotted Dogfish washed up - about 12 in
Loss of sand at Bovisand - huge areas of the intertidal scoured due
to storm activity - decreased number of intertidal species

Winter storms in and around Cornwall, loss of beach sediment and

shifts in the make up of the coastline. Stranded baby puffin on Gylly
Storms of 2014. Impact on coastal change and benthic change in
Bideford Bay. ( Rocky areas covered by
Weather/Management Issues
Heybrook Bay beach now covered in sand after storms and this has
Regular snorkelling in Wembury Bay - May-Sept. Poor visibility after
rain but fairly clear in periods of dry weather, less sand present,
Weather/Oceanographyexposing rock. Bigger particle size of sediment present. Very warm
The amount of sand moved off the beaches by the storms and the
amount of rubbish blown in. In particular Parran Beach from
Winter 2014 Storms
Caused large movement of sand bars in bays (Bideford Bay and
Woolacombe) and high energy benthos, altering riptides, and fishing
Weather 2014
SEE STORMS 2013/14 from below 343 - 409

31 Weather/Birds


Oceanography - Plankton & Jellyfish

Summer SST's warmer than usual
7 Oceanography
High levels of ASP toxin found in Scallops caught in the Channel
caused by algal blooms. Increased toxin levels started in May 2014,
still ongoing. Probably due to warm water temperatures/mild
15 Oceanography
Sahfos Plankton - data not in yet, hopefully preliminary results in
9 Oceanography Planktontime for report. I can contribute a list of unusual Plankton
Influx of Trichodesmia diatom (rarely seen) in autumn, Bloom of
24 Oceanography Planktondiatom (like the spring bloom) in December 2014)
Lots of jellyfish on south coast of Devon during summer 2014
Large numbers of barrel jellyfish - lots of people having close
encounters whilst swimming/snorkelling
Oceanography (plankton)
Jellyfish Hugh Rhizostoma (Barrel) swarms throughout summer. Still
around over the winter anecdote of fishermen off S Cornwall
Oceanography (plankton)
Jellyfish Huge numbers of barrel jellyfish in Penzance harbour and
Oceanography (plankton)
Jellyfish Aequoria species present on Woolacombe beach from
5/8/14 to 3/3/15. Greatest number on 31/8/14
Oceanography (plankton)
Masses of barrel jellyfish and other jelly species - also Ctenophoras
Lots of barrel jellyfish on south coast of Cornwall (near Falmouth)
and other jellyfish
Bioluminescence bloom on south coast of Cornwall (Falmouth
Maenporth) for an extensive time mid-summer
Masses of small jellyfish (prob. Moon) at Penhale throughout the
summer. Blue jellies abundant also here and Porthtowan
High sea surface temperatures in July. I recorded temps of 21.0C at
Number of jellyfish reported sightings in February 2015 - barrel, blue
fin, by-the-wind sailors. South Devon - Crystal jellyfish in Salcombe Oceanography
Plankton - Barrel jellyfish sightings
Continued movement of sand around the Newquay area - ongoing
re-distribution after 2013-14 storms? (Changes in levels up and
Phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass and abundance relate to
Spring phyto plankton bloom again, made showing plankton to the
children on-board difficult until vertical trawl discovered!

30 Oceanography



Recorded sea temperatures at Wembury Point while monitoring

Scyliorhinus stellaris egg cases: April 13.7, May 14.5, Jun 18.3, Jul
19.1, Aug 18.4 & 19.3, Sep 18.5 & 20 & 18.4, Oct 16.1 & 16.2, Nov
Seemed to be more wakame on the pontoons in 2014
Sightings of barrel jellyfish
Oceanography (plankton)
Sightings of barrel jellyfish in Fowey River - never seen before
Oceanography (plankton)
Oceanography/Benthos Barrel jellyfish in abundance - sea and river
Massive abundance of Rhizostoma - In March/April started hearing
reports of masses of rhizostoma pulmo further east and further out
to sea, from fishermen and other wildlife operators. In April they
started appearing in Mount's Bay in large numbers, from the east.
Stayed all summer through many different weather systems and
tides. Even observed in Penzance harbour and along the shore.
Oceanography/PlanktonMany of them very large. Also large numbers of compass jellyfish.
Jellyfish - Abundance of Rhizostoma pulmo from early May until end
Oceanography PlanktonJelly fish bloom
Dense aggregations of barrel jellies around Penzance and South
Oceanography PlanktonPenwith in May/June - also many small (approx 10cm) blue Cyanea
Crystal jellyfish seen at Wembury Point
Only two barrel jellyfish seen, late summer
By-the-wind Sailors and mauve stingers 300+ of each on Chapel
On calm days, many barrel jellyfish sited off the coast in Falmouth,
also on the coastline between the Lizard and Penzance
Fish (Jelly)

Benthos & Intertidal

Storm effects



Very heavy sand scours on many shores - removing much of the

sessile life leaving polished rock surfaces and thin shelled limpets
An unusually high amount of scour and erosion, with wash out of
large long-lived bivalves like Lutraria spp
Wash-out of sediment. Burrowing species unable to burrow into
Change in intertidal habitat as a result of winter storms
Benthos - intertidal
Following the winter storms a huge amount of static gear was lost
by the fishing industry. This had huge economic impacts for the
fishermen but also has consequences for ghost fishing and damage
Benthos/Management Issues
Quality of scallops was affected by storms. Lyme Bay - lots of empty
shells, reduction in muscle mass
Several sightings of juvenile spring lobsters (Crawfish) in Falmouth
Bay on the reefs - Bizzies and Welps. First time spring lobsters seen
Remarkable recruitment of football sea squirts (Diazona violaca ) in
some areas of S Devon (which first observed in 2008) continued in
Depilatory Sea Hare (Aplysia depilans ) found to be breeding
(presence of egg masses on rocks in rock pool) at Marazion. Three



Kaleidoscope* stalked jellyfish (*plus two other species, name not

known), Pistol Shrimp, Sea Gherkin, Spiny Squat Lobster, Common
Squat Lobster, Nudibranchs (? Names?). Devonshire Cup Coral,
Dahlia, Daisy, Snake locks, Beadlet Anemones
All at Hele, Nr Ilfracombe, rocky shore north facing (at low shore most recorded)
European and Arctic Cowrie, Sea Spiders x 3 spp, Common Hermit
Interactions with use and management
Lots of monofilament fishing plastic washed up in bundles with
The rapid spread of electric pulse fishing in the Southern North Sea
including UK flagged vessels owned by the Dutch
From working with fishermen in Lyme Bay - great year for juvenile
lobsters - large amounts caught in pots. Brown crab - expected to
While diving in Lyme Bay in July, I was amazed by the number and
size of Pink Sea Fans, so many that you could not see the sea floor
for Pink Sea Fans, but also noted the very high amounts of fishing
line wrapped around a large proportion of fans, While commercial
I saw two Cuttlefish on snorkels, never seen one snorkelling before

Fish (sun fish and basking sharks, sharks and turtles)

8 Fish
42 fish




Storms/floods impacted fresh water/salinity/turbidity Bristol

Storms caused sand to move off-shore covering low water reefs.
Covered by 1.5 metres of sand causing lobsters and small coastal

Pelagic species - shoals and species

Anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus - At the end of October and through
much of November there were large shoals of Anchovy off the south
coast of Devon and Cornwall, especially off Plymouth. A Derbio
Trachinotus ovatus was caught amongst a shoal off Rame Head (SE
Whitebait Clupeids - Large shoals of "Whitebait", i.e. small clupeids,
were seen in shallow bays in Devon and Cornwall in the latter half of
2013, and the same occurred again in 2014. The few I was able to
Poor juvenile survival in Bass stock during very cold winters a few
years ago, appears now to be translating into poor recruitment to
the adult/spawning stock - evident in size distributions from
Whitebait/Mackerel on shores/in harbours. But late.
Largest school of Mackerel ever seen by us on fish finder. South of
Mew Stone at drop off. 50 caught in 8 mins. August bank holiday
Big schools of Whitebait right up under pontoons in QAB, Plymouth Fish
Abundant yr 0 & 1 Bass - Reports of lots of small/juvenile fish this
year - especially bass. Although bass stocks critical, two warmish
Mackerel bubbling by quayside in Looe river. Small fish (sprats and
eels) littering the shoreline. Large tuna washed up at Kingsand?
Fish Shoals - Entire shoals of baitfish found on strandline followed
by mackerel. Looe river, there were shoals of mackerel (presumably
Mackerel very abundant - however, in May/June - expected to be
there, but couldn't catch a single one! No fisherman could! Then
Mackerel seemed to be late in arriving in Falmouth . Maybe they



59 Fishing

Mackerel scarce inshore May-end July in Cornwall. Then huge influx

of mackerel shoals at start of August, tended to be smaller
Huge amounts of mackerel off the coast of Falmouth - caught
Huge numbers of mackerel, unusual, never seen before in my
Sprat being washed into Beesands by mackerel
No mackerel in Lyme Bay early in the season - followed by huge
Massive shoals of mackerel around the coast in late summer
Mackerel shoals up the Tamar beyond Mt Wise - August-September
Whitebait (as mentioned)
Caught many more mackerel than for many years, in barn pool
Mass stranding of small fish (sprat/herring/mackerel?) in rock pools
Many sightings of large schools of mackerel in Bigbury, shown to be
driving whitebait up to the shoreline

43 Fish
49 Fish
64 Fish

Numbers of Atlantic Bonito caught over the summer by anglers and

commercial fishermen; mainly juveniles but was told of an individual
Atlantic bonito's - Have heard a number were caught in SW
Bonito Sarda sarda - From at least July to October the uncommon
small tuna Sarda sarda was regularly found amongst the mackerel,
Blue fin tuna stranding cables in the summer - coincides with ABFT
repopulating Ireland and appearing in Scotland as well ->
Tuna (Blue Fin?) washed up at Kingsand/Cawsand. Increased
numbers of triggerfish washing up (specifically on north coast of
Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus - A medium sized Bluefin Tuna was
found alive in the shallow water of Cawsand Bay (SE Cornwall) in
July 2014. A similar one was found in similar circumstances at
Lump fish photographed early May at St Anthony Point, Falmouth
Several Oceanic Pufferfish (Lagocephalus Lagocephalus ) washed up
over the summer. I know of two found at Hayle, one at Penzance
Large influx of Cod to inshore waters around SW. Noticed from
July/August onwards - shore anglers have reported that this has led
Oddity - spiny seahorse caught in Kingsbridge Crede in Autumn 2014
10 Triggerfish ashore on Woolacombe beach during Jan/Feb 2015 -

Sun fish
73 Fish
76 Fish
36 Fish

No sunfish seen this year

Several Mola mola off Scilly in May/June.
Sunfish - Barks Head nr Tintagel - 2 no 13/8/14. Regular here

43 Fish
41 Fish
11 Fish
68 Fish
27 Fish

11 Fish
20 Fish
43 Fish

Basking Sharks
36 Fish


Basking Sharks Despite 9 Scillonian trips as a wildlife guide for the

RSPB and several sea-watches off North Cornwall, no basking sharks
Basking sharks Low sightings numbers June to end of season after
an early spike similar to Ireland + 10M? Lack of predictable season
Fewer Basking Sharks reported in 2014 (although tour operators
Where were all the Basking Sharks?
Basking Sharks - none observed in Falmouth Bay for the first time in

27 Fish
43 Fish
47 Fish
65 Fish
68 Fish
22 Fish - Basking Sharks
62 Fish

Low numbers of basking shark sightings observed through CWT

Seaquest SW project. We could only speculate on the cause at our
end of year roadshow around Cornwall - the public are interested Noticeable lack of Basking Sharks around West Cornwall. I sighted
one individual in April at Porthcurno. Usually see 20+ individuals
Lack of Basking Shark sightings, only one during all the Seaquest
Basking Shark numbers reported to be even lower than usual
Basking Shark numbers very low 19 or 39? records - 91 animals.
Also sighting season was very short - ended 30/6. No sharks bar two
Basking sharks Hardly any - 11 sightings in total, spread out over the
whole area we cover. First one was April 8th so reasonably early.
Sightings of Basking Shark appear somewhere else. Related to

Sharks & Rays

65 Fish
73 Fish
45 Fish

Great White Shark hysteria - 'Lydia' tagged GWS crossed midAtlantic Ridge 'heading for SW' but still 1000 miles away. Footage of
Basking Shark mistaken for GWS in September (off Falmouth) Scyliorhinus stellaris lay eggs year round at Wembury Point
Found a Blonde Ray's mermaid's purse; on Worbarrow Bay, Dorset,

31 Turtles
31 Turtles

The increased sightings of stranded olive ridley turtles on Cornwall

and Devon coastline indicating increasing populations elsewhere?
Sighting of a leatherback turtle in Falmouth harbour within the

See Fisheries in Management

Bird wreck - storms
54 Birds



Major wreck of seabirds (mostly Auks) following severe storms in

Cornwall Strandings Netork Presentation - November 2014 - Ruth
22/2/14 - 60 Auks/ 30 Razorbills/30 Guillemots on two tides on
Storm wreck - hundreds of dead birds washed up in Dorset,
especially Chesil Beach in Lyme Bay. A wide variety of species but
Stormy winter (understatement) - Just for example, between Feb
4th and Feb 14th we had four major storms from a SW/SSW
direction. Very damaging to infrastructure and property. Seabirds
washing ashore (mainly guillemots) dead or dying. Mousehole Bird
Hospital were full - said they were full of auks. Birds were
undernourished and weak. This followed a January full of westerly
storms which damaged the north coast, a terribly wet and windy
(northerly) December - flooding on Levels and storm surge down
Birds Weather
Back in February I went for a walk along Dawlish Warren, just after
the severe storms. Along the beach were a huge number of dead
birds, but almost all of them (23 out of 25 observed) were
Razorbills. The other two birds were Guillemot. There was also a
huge number of lesser spotted Dogfish washed up - about 12 in
Birds - Weather Feb 2014

26 Birds
4 Management Issues

Small repeat of PIB? issue with dead birds at Whitsand

Palm oil residue on Whitsand, Seaton and Looe beaches and ghost
Oil, PPB, oil rancid lumps on beaches

Rat eradication

24 Birds
72 Birds
72 Birds






Storm Petrels - June breeding on Lundy for first time and only other
location is SW England outside IOS. Manx Shearwater and Puffin
numbers continue to rise at Lundy after rat eradication 10 years ago
First fledging of Kittiwake Young on Isle of Scilly in five years
Manx Shearwater - 1st successful fledgling of young on St Agnes and
Gugh in living memory

Observations - Movements - aggregations

Balearic Shearwater concentrations west of Lyme Bay and again
West of Lundy Island (Bristol Channel) on October 2014 Peltic
Research cruise. Associated with large numbers of sprat and
Rafts of Balearic Shearwaters, ca. 200-300 individuals, recorded
between Jersey and Guernsey in July
Record Cornish count of Balearic Shearwaters in October 2014 continuing recent increasing trend of this CE species in SW UK
Cormorants and shags few in number for the first half of year in
Barks Head, Tintagel. 8 red throated divers 23/1/14, Long tailed
Skua 21/10/14. Uncountable numbers of manx shearwaters
13/8/14. Storm Petrel 2 - 21/10/14. Kittiwakes passage 1,000+ in 1
Rafts of Shearwaters off Land's End (early August)
The mixed flock of Terns that arrived in the Hayle Estuary on 27th
August and stayed for a few days. Estimated at 1600 birds including
Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Roseate Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern
Gannets flocking in hundreds and possibly thousands in the Celtic
Deep. Displaying activity different to feeding, seemed to be
Dense aggregations of gannets and shearwaters off Seven Stones in
Gannet flyby (18/10/14) - 150 birds in 40 minutes flying west observation site Great Sleaden Rocks (west of Start Point). The
majority were flying west - 5 flying east - low over the sea - along
Great Sleadon Rock (west of Start Point), May 27th 2014 7pm 8.10pm: 26 shearwaters flying towards the east - along the Start
Point tide line in small groups; gannets 28 flying west - 9 east -birds

Links to Regional Bird Report Sites


4 Seals
16 Seals

18 Seals
26 Seals

Stranding 2013/2014 winter. 2014 winter - lot were sent to Gweek

Less moulted pups needing rescuing this pupping season, possibly
Seal pup rescues in Cornwall winter Sept 2013/Feb 2014. High
number very underweight unweaned and recently weaned pups.
Possibly due to maternal separation in stormy weather e.g. 3-4
week old pups weight 12-18kg instead of 40-50kg. Also fractured
Strandings and seal pup rescue of orphans after storms

60 Seals
66 Seals
70 Seals
21 Seals & Cetaceans

78 Seals

Feb - previously unknown haul-out found (by me) in St Austell Bay. I

have monitored this site all year. Photo ID (Sue Sayer) links this site
via 18 previously/subsequently photographed individuals to seven
other sites including Scilly and Skomer (both SACs). This haul-out
quieter in early 2015. Maybe in 2014 numbers extra high sheltering
More records of seals and same individuals staying for prolonged
periods (months) than in previous years
Large numbers of seal pups stranded in 2014 - Cornwall seal group
Increasing evidence of grey seal predation on harbour porpoise
Great Sleadon Rocks (West of Start Point), south Devon; May 30th
2014 At least four seals hauling out and swimming near the rocks.
(Photos). Present for 6 hours across low water. Oblivious to walkers
and inshore potting boat passing very close to the rocks. Seen

Locations - species by species
Links to existing reports SeaQuest, CWT Strandings, MARINElife,
Scillonian observations, Relative abundance lists
Overall - groups being seen together - locations
Survey trip to Ireland with IWDG - very poor year for sightings for
6 Cetaceans
Great year for cetaceans - especially Risso's dolphins and minke
10 Cetaceans
Greater number of dolphin sightings, primarily common dolphins on
MARINElife Ilfracombe/Bideford to Lundy surveys in Summer (Apr12 Cetaceans
Regular sightings of common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins,
Harbour porpoise and White-beaked dolphin again, July-Oct, in
13 Cetaceans
Large variety of cetacean species frequently seen all throughout
Summer months around Cornish coast
14 Cetaceans
Lots more observations of species being seen together more often
16 Cetaceans
The number of good cetacean sightings during our Seaquest
Surveys, including Bottlenose Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise, Risso's
Dolphin, Minke Whale. AND sighting a white (anomalous coloured)
47 Cetaceans

68 Cetaceans
73 Cetaceans

13 Cetaceans
14 Cetaceans

Good year for cetaceans - 4 records of killer whales, 100+ Risso's

dolphin records, good year for minke whales
No live dolphins seen this year
White-beaked dolphins recorded off Falmouth in late December.
Images show recaptures of individuals from Lyme Bay population
MARINElife White-beaked dolphin south west catalogue updated
(62 individuals). Report produced for Natural England on population

17 Cetaceans

MARINElife - Bottlenose dolphin paper - Photo-identification study

of Bottlenose dolphins off south west England 2007-2014 to submit
Using fin ID of 'Clet' - lone Bottlenose dolphin (BND) - tracked from
France, Cornwall, Wales, W Ireland, Scotland, 10M, Cornwall and

52 Cetaceans

April 2014 - On the way back from a dive at Orestone, near Torquay,
we saw a pod of almost 50 common dolphin, more than anyone had

14 Cetaceans

56 Cetaceans
14 Cetaceans
22 Cetaceans
17 Cetaceans
57 Cetaceans

Large numbers of Common Dolphin in Lyme Bay in July. Large pod

of 30+ off Torbay (beginning of July)
Risso's dolphins recorded with calves in south Lyme Bay midRisso's dolphin sightings up - Never abundant, but we had 9
sightings of them in 2014 compared to 2 in 2013. A prey thing Found numbers of Cuttlefish bones on beach with apparent 'teeth'
marks (fresh, some flesh still attached and evidence of ink) from
Many sightings of Risso's dolphins reported

39 Cetaceans
71 Cetaceans

Harbour Porpoises - Barks Head, Tintagel, 5+ 23/1/14 Max

Good numbers of harbour porpoise seen in Falmouth bay (3 male,
female and juvenile) on 4-hour boat trip
Harbour Porpoises - nearly all sightings in end Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov,

60 Cetaceans

Orca seen in St Austell Bay. When huge numbers of mackerel in the

bay in mid summer (date not in my head but reported to Cornwall
Wildlife Trust ORKS). My record (from Kayak) one of five (and

36 Cetaceans

38 Cetaceans
56 Cetaceans

Relatively high numbers of Minke whale spotted between Dodman

Point and Lizard over the summer
Large numbers of 'large' whales in the Eastern Celtic Deep, approx 8
different groups of Fin whales in small area, plus unidentified whales

CWT Strandings
report - hyperlink - summary precis
Cetaceans - strandings synopsis
- hyperlink
4 stranded dolphins (inc one Risso's) tagged this year
73 Cetaceans
Dolphin juveniles carcasses washed into North Coast of Devon 63 Cetaceans
MARINElife reports - is there a 2014 south west report - Hyperlink





Scillonian Report on Sightings? Hyperlink?

(3) Harbour Porpoise - Penzance to Wolf Rock
(4 to 5) Risso's Dolphin - between St Mary's and St Agnes
(1) Common Dolphin - Penzance to Wolf Rock
(2) Harbour Porpoise - Wolf Rock to St Mary's
(1) Minke Whale - Wolf Rock to St Mary's
(3) Dolphin Sp - Penzance to Wolf Rock (09:12 hr)
(3) Dolphin Sp - Penzance to Wolf Rock (09:45 hr)
(1) Harbour Porpoise - Wolf Rock to St Mary's (11:05 hr)
(1) Common Dolphin - Wolf Rock to St Mary's (11:50 hr)
(15) Common Dolphin - Penzance to Wolf Rock
(15) Dolphin Sp - Penzance to Wolf Rock
(1) Harbour Porpoise - Wolf Rock to St Mary's

75 Cetaceans

(3) Common Dolphin - St Mary's to Wolf Rock (15:30 hr)
(6) Common Dolphin - St Mary's to Wolf Rock (16:25 hr)
(1) Minke Whale - Wolf Rock to Penzance (16:50 hr)

Management (litter, fisheries, mpa, development)

Litter - plastics - debris washed ashore
Great year for pots and other fishing gear and driftwood!
67 Management
Marine plastics notably high on the agenda at a local level - could be
due to MSFD Descriptor refinement/consultation
1 Management
< Marine plastic/debris/ghost fishing gear
3 Management
Oil, PPB, oil rancid lumps on beaches
4 Management Issues
A large amount of fishing gear and cut net on the beaches of North
Devon. Also presence of palm oil on beaches across the South West
29 Management Issues
Considerable amount of fishing gear and cut net being found
washed up, more than previous years. Large proportion of the
48 Management Issues

45 Management Issues
Storm impacts
3 Management
3 Management

9 Management Issues

61 Management Issues

On beach clean up post . wreck on Worbarrow Bay, Dorset, beach

and cliffs strewn with packaging from cigarette transportation.

< Bird wrecks (winter 2013/14 and 2015)

< Seal stranding especially winter 2014/15
Funding normally allocated to evidence-providing R&D diverted to
flood response in Defra. Flooding higher on political agenda which
resulted in downgrading of profile of Marine Env policy (MSFD).
Much attention and concern in 2014 re ability of SW coastline to
recover from storms; investigations undertaken to determine
whether any soft engineering e.g. beach nourishment required to

MPAs - including MCZs

Proposed 4 MCZs in Cornwall and second tranche
5 Management
Tranche 2 MCZs out to consultation
40 Management
A personal one - there appears to be a significant gap in
understanding what "science" is up to, and where statutory nature
conservation bodies, and management (e.g. IFCAs, MMO) actually
try to work together. The "we" and "them" issue is very apparent.
It would be great if current science/projects would make a greater
effort of understanding what is currently worked on - Natural
30 Management Issues
First deep-water MCZ of SW UK designated (The Canyons). New
restrictions on bottom gear in European marine sites in SW UK
54 Management Issues
MCZ management is long behind their designation. Though data
takes a while to gather and decisions need to be informed - public
70 Management Issues

5 Management

Increase in minimum landing size of Bass in Cornwall and quotas

44 Management Issues
65 Management Issues

Closure of Bristol Channel ray fishery due to quota exhaustion

Skate and Ray fishery closure in ICES Block VII. Poor adaptive
management/east coast.
Ray ban - lack of provisioning or warning for small scale inshore
fishermen (sorry, not an ecological or oceanographic issue but it's
Bristol Channel (Appledore) fisheries closed for skate and ray (Oct

30 Management Issues

Demersal trawling (over 10m boats) in inshore (0-6nm) zones. Off

south coast of Devon (Blackpool Bend / off Start Bay); Summer 2014

7 Management
8 Management Issues

7 Fish/Management

In mid-summer some vessels in Newlyn Fleet exhausted quota and

re-rigged for long-line Blue Shark fishing

Development - Science
4 Management Issues

Community - work and events with local groups - new group in

31 Management Issues

Maerl bed issues and possible dredging of Falmouth harbour to

54 Management Issues

First deployment of robot fleet off SW UK to monitor marine

environment and ecosystem -> robots now being used by

Winter Storms 2013 2014

From the SWME14 Conference


North Devon inter-tidal beach profiles completely altered by

sediment movements. 1-2m higher than usual, filling rock pools and
gullies. Difficult to judge full impact on sessile species as yet, most
presumed dead. Abundant low shore Limpet scars unoccuppied,
some sand dwellers disturbed. Kelps trashed which may be why


Summer rainfall up = lower salinity for much longer than usual =

huge damage to harbours and marina ops. In Chichester (E.Sussex)
due to huge population influx and rapid growth of tube building
Stormy seas made sampling challenging - difficult to assess effect on

Weather - Birds
Extreme weather

More litter at the beaches

Saunton Beach N Devon - over 3 kilometres in Feb 14 collected 64
dead auks - part of a south-west of England "crash" probably caused
Run-off of silt/mud from agriculture contributed to reduced vis. in
Damage to foreshore. Impacts on wildlife - especially seals & sea
birds (washed ashore or needing rescuing)
More debris/litter
Poor water visibility - hindering diving (& therefore monitoring
programme on Scylla). Expected to take a while to clear
Storm damage and extreme conditions - really hot summer 2013 unusual climate flood damage in winter 2013/2014
*Puffins, guillemots, razorbills, dead on S.Devon * Petrified Forest
High tide risks, loss of beaches
Extreme storms on East coast of Norfolk seriously affecting seal
colonies with young pups being washed onto nearby roads

Hot year, lots of sand washed in making access to rock pools easier.
This year - all gone! Beach totally rocky
Storms - soil wash-off from agricultural land entering water courses
and then of course the sea (eg detrimental impact on seagrass in
Hot summer - wet and windy winter - flooding and damage not only
at highest spring tides as is more usual (eg Feb 14)
Very cold spring - poor weather made shore surveying difficult
Dead seabirds washing up on the beaches
Oceanography/WeatherLarge, long fetch groundswells in Jan/Feb, hitting coast regularly
Weed scoured from low intertidal
Exceptional storms throughout winter months - out of touch with
SW this year so can't comment otherwise
Destruction of sea defences
Sand dune system degredation during storms
Thousands of birds being washed into England's coast during the last
few months/weeks due to the storms
Huge increase in seal pup rescues. As a BDMLR MEDIC rescued 9
seal pups along North Cornwall between Perranporth and Padstow normally only about 3. The Cornish seal sanctuary and West Hatch
Winter storms
Winter storms - large number of dead birds washed up on Chesil
Extreme weather conditions at the end of 2013. Increased tidal and
wave conditions leading to marine litter, altered physical
Big storm events huge nos. of dead seabirds on beaches. Also lots
Weather - storms
Storms winter 13/14. Lots of rain and large swell - lots of coastal
Effect on seashore and seabed life have been 'patchy' and,
although there have been 'wash-outs' and habitat damage, much is
as always. The highly turbid water that remains today is remarkable Storms in 2014
Benthos-eel grass beds at Longrock removed. Stalked jelly bloom
around Cornish Coast - early bloom?
Winter storms
Extreme tidal surges - on 14 Feb occasion it was worst for 9 years
2013/14 storms
Changes to the Dorset coastline as a result of storms, and largescale disturbance to shallow-water habitats. Chesil Cove has
Seagrass beds in Torbay damaged - lots washed up on beaches and
reports of seagrass caught in fishing gear
Storms 2014
Possible damage to seagrass beds in Torbay. Reports of seagrass in
Changes to physical structure of beaches (boulders moved, pebble
beaches became sandy), large amounts of silt in rockpools Events - storm
Severe storms drastically changing coastline ecosystems
Porthcurno had a lot of sand removed exposing cables on the beach.
Also seen dead pink sea fans washed up along Newquay beaches
Sand dunes at Dawlish Warren washed away - beach receding.
Defence for spit lost + loss of plant life
Huge piles of kelp March 1st on Bovisand Beach, lots of scour in
rockpools. Sand filled many of the rockpools
Destructive storms, change to the sand bank, coastal erosion - but
mild temperature all winter - link to climate change - Americas big
Winter storms
Seabird storm wreck around Cornwall and Channel/France. V large
Weather - storms
South Devon - significant erosion of mobile sediment beaches rocky shores remarkably unscathed, majority of impact here within
2013/14 storms

Great turbidity for longer yet to see impacts. Salt spray likely to
have gone further inland yet to see impacts
Exceptional storms and their knock on effects flooding, erosion,
damage to coast (incl kelp forests). Impacts on organisms (ie seals in
Severe storms. Plastic deposition and sand erosion at local beaches
Decimated some blue mussel populations on both north and south
Winter storms
Impacts on coastal communities + fishing industry. Litter on beaches
North coast of Cornwall - changes in sand & knock-on changes in
low water level, affecting duration of desscaton on rocky shore
Benthos - intertidal
Huge storms caused an enormous amount of plastic debris to wash
up on our beaches - highlighting how much is actually out at sea
Storms - Litter
Sand swept out from beaches - Coachington Haven. Old Sabellana
alveolata colonies noted? On rocks below sand that had been
Rocky Shore
Increased raw sewage discharges due to flooding
2013-much sand covered rocks so species eg anemones buried
deep. 2014-severe storms scoured rocks, removed sand and trashed
rockpool habitats. Not much survived. Previously rich rockpools are
Storms - beaches
Winter storms - increase in eggcase submissions for great eggcase
hunt - blonde & cuckoo rays particularly; certain part of seabed
Storms - eggcases
Lots of dead edible 'crab keep boxes' due to freshwater running
Storm - freshwater run off
Beach profiles at Godrevy Mutton Cove changed in a fortnight - rock
platform exposed and recovered in 2 weeks. Others still not
Beach deposits
Weather - Devon. Fishing - Lyme Regis. Storms have offset a lot of
the pots from the Lyme Regis/West Bay fishermen, causing a huge
loss of profit for fishermen as they have to use their time for fishing
Storms - Management Issues
1920s wreck uncovered after huge groundsea in harbour - not
Storms Newquay Harbour
Great Western Beach Old wooden wreck exposed with wooden rails
Heybrook Bay shore now a sandy beach rather than cobbles after
Petrified forest revealed at Westward ho! and Porlock, also
shipwrecks rarely revealed. Most sand gone from Westward ho!
mud and
clay, similar
at Porlock - both have long pebble
Beach sediment movements
and wreck
Huge amount of sand removed from local beaches. Temporal
storms local beaches sediment quarrying, how this has affected nearshore in fauna
Management/storms There has been large numbers of crab and lobster pots lost to the
(Storms 2014) over 90% of mussel lost from beds on the TawTorridge estuary, due to storm damage. Beds likely to be closed to
2013/14 storms

Paula Ferris

Amy Muggeridge (Sussex)

J Skinner
Ana Leocardo
Dave Jenkins
Dave Jenkins
D Cracknell
D Cracknell
D Cracknell
Clare Marshall
Maya Plass
Anna Woodhead
Inge Smith

Janet Chapman
John Meakin
M Gardener and Tim Caulfield
Matt Slater
Caz Wadell
John Richardson
John Hepburn
Pete Cosgrove
Jon Eckert
Anna Prior
Lucia Mascorda

Annabelle Lowe
Andrew McLeish
Melanie Broadhurst (Alderney
Wildlife Trust)
Sam Cox
Rachel Gillingham

Keith Hiscock
Matt Slater
M Gardener and Tim Caulfield
Russell Noke
Katherine Gray
Lauren Parkhouse
Sara Marshall
Harry Burgis
Stephanie Davies
Lucy Rayner
Stacey De Amicis
Robyn Samuel
Ruth Williams
Nigel Mortimer

Nigel Mortimer
Jo Ziemann
K Scales
Jen Dyer
Sian Rees
C Wilding
Ceri Lewis
Chrissy Robertson
Jon Eckert

Jan Whittington
Cat Gordon
Nigel Mortimer
Sue Sayer
Harriet Yates-Smith/Blue
Marine Foundation
Annabelle Lowe
Annabelle Lowe
Martin Attrill

Jan Whittington
Mark Parry
Lauren Parkhouse
Katherine Gray