11th August 2016
Red Blenny record for Wales
Red or Potuguese Blenny, Parablennius ruber, was first
recorded by Seasearch divers in Scotland in 2002 and there are earlier
records as far back as 1982. It is a southerly species and its habitat
preference seems to be for slightly deeper and much more exposed
rocky reefs than its close relative, the much more common Tompot
Blenny. It has been recorded from exposed sites off the west coast
of Scotland, Northern and Western Ireland, the Isles of Scilly and
south coasts of Cornwall and Devon but until now had never been
seen in Wales.
recent Seasearch dive in West Wales managed to get to The Smalls,
off Pembrokeshire, which is one of the most wave exposed reefs in
Wales and Kerry Lewis recorded and photographed the fish there.
Another first for Seasearch!
Seasearch Observers and Surveyors
programme of 2016 courses got off to a flying start and there have
been 25 Seasearch Courses so far this year. There is one more Observer
Course currently planned, in Dorset, though there may be others
arranged at short notice to meet demand.
we are concentrating on survey diving and since April this year
18 of our volunteers have completed their Observer qualification.
They are: Elaine LeClaire (CI), Zoe Masters (E), Alec Routledge
(E), Rick Allbrook, (E), Kat Berry (E), Holger Schumann (E), Terry
Ozanne (CI), Chantelle de Gruchy (CI), Jake Davies (W), Sue Foster
(E), Yvonne Oates (E), Patricia Mole (E), James Nash (W), Katrina
Dick (S), Kevin Lee (E), Catherine Gras (W), Liz Spilby (E) and
Ged McKenna (E).
is also coming in from the survey dives. So far we have 466 forms
registered. Many of these are from training dives as is usual for
this time of year and thus 62% are Observation Forms and 38% Survey
Forms. 49% of the data (227 forms) comes from England, with 17%
(80 forms) from Scotland, 17% (78 forms) from Wales, 12% (58 forms)
from the Channel Islands, 4%(17 forms) from Northern Ireland and
1% (6 forms) from the Isle of Man.
explores Brownsea Island Peacock Worm beds
Seasearch had a fabulous and very successful weekend on Brownsea
Island in Poole Harbour in mid June surveying the Sabella pavonina
beds identified on Southern IFCA video transects.
Thanks to everyone involved - the volunteer divers (Dawn Watson,
Richard Yorke, Nick Owen, Cathryn Quick, Hugh Waite, Jean-Luc Solandt),
the boat drivers (John Humphreys, Richard Girdler and Nick Owen),
the surface support (Polly Whyte), Dorset Wildlife Trust (Chris
Thain) for accommodation and transport around the island, The National
Trust for use of their Brownsea Seahorse, Southern IFCA for their
Sabella data and Natural England for some funding. Special thanks
to organisers Lin Baldock and Charlotte Bolton for helping to make
it all happen!
surveys Falmouth maerl
beds in the Falmouth estuary are the most extensive and densest
in England. There is currently a proposal to dredge the channel
into Falmouth Docks to accommodate larger vessels, including cruise
liners. Seasearch has been concerned about the potential impact
of the dredging not only on the channel itself but also the sedimentation
effects on the maerl beds as a whole. Seasearch dives in June were
organised by Marine Conservation Society to add more data from areas
to the south of the dredge channel and on the main maerl bed at
St Mawes Bank. Further surveys are planned for September.
picture shows two typical inhabitants of the maerl bed, a Reticulated
Dragonet and an Eyelash Worm.
explores new sites in the Channel Islands
team of Seasearch Surveyors carried out a week long survey in the
Channel Islands in May. Based on the liveaboard MV Salutay our aim
was to dive new sites which have no previous records. Perfect conditions
at the beginning of the week took us to two sites on the Casquets,
isolated and exposed rocks nine miles west of Alderney seen in the
picture and two other new sites on Alderney itself. We then moved
on to two more new sites off the south coast of Guernsey, and after
a day in port due to high winds to another new site off Jethou and
finally an old favourite in Sark. In search of quieter conditions
saw us recording from harbours in Guernsey and Alderney as well.
were the 'yellow reefs' festooned with branching and massive yellow
sponges, cluster anemones and Stolonica sea squirts, crawfish
(including a monster at the Casquests and 8 on one dive in Sark
where there is a complete ban on their capture). Alderney has many
scarlet and gold cup-corals (scarce in England and Wales) and another
intriguing cup coral shown top right in the picture below. Bigger
than scarlet and gold but smaller than sunsets - is it a large pale
Devonshire cup coral or a pale sunset? As always the more we look
the more questions we have.
was a successful week for us all and valuable additions were made
to the range of sites and species we have recorded in the Channel
Islands. In June the focus of surveying there will move to Jersey
where a week-long dayboat based survey is planned, which will include
the most southerly dive site in British waters, Les Sauvages.
Courses and Dives for 2016 well underway
Seasearch courses have already taken place in 2016 but there are
Observer and Surveyor Courses and 1 Marine Life Course still to
Many survey dives have already taken place and there are another
20 planned. These range from single shore dives, through evening
dives to weekends and a couple of week-long ones. Hopefully there
is something for everyone and of course more dates are being added
as extra surveys are arranged.
of the Observer courses pictured here was in Plymouth on 7th-8th
May with 14 eager new (and not quite so new) Seasearchers followed
by 20 people diving on the Sunday, with much form filling afterwards
(note the product placement in the picture!). The plankton bloom
had just arrived and visibility was well down over recent weeks,
but since then it has cleared again and many species can be seen
at their summertime best.
the latest information on forthcoming courses and survey dives go
to the Training or Diving
pages of this site or contact your local Coordinator.
Crawfish are back
of the Seasearch targets in recent years has been to record the
ups and downs of the crawish (or crayfish or spiny lobster) population.
It is a priority species for conservation in the UK because of the
decline in recent years due to overfishing. Seasearch records show
a dramatic increase in sightings in south-west England in 2014 and
2015 and we have contined to see them regularly in 2016. This picture
is by Bee Nuttall from Hand Deeps which we dived in beautiful pre-bloom
visibility on 23rd April.
want you records of crawfish sightings wherever you see them. They
can be included on your Seasearch form of course, but if you aren't
intending to complete one for the dive you can record just the crawfish
on our online system here
Responds to Northern Ireland MCZ Consultation
and MCS have responded to the Northern Ireland MCZ consultation.
We have welcomed the proposed sites but do not feel they, together
with existing MPAs, make up an ecologically coherent network. The
4 sites are Rathlin (where we have carried out many Seasearch Surveys),
Waterfoot (where Seasearch proposed the MCZ to protect the largest
seagrass bed in Northern Ireland), Outer Belfast Lough and Carlingford
Lough. We have offered Seasearch volunteer expertise to assist with
the suveillance of the sites. Thanks to Claire Goodwin for preparing
the response which you can see on the Achievements