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Stranger things happen at sea

30 September 2013 | Posted in Graeme Lyons , Marine

Graeme Lyons

Ecologist

Last Tuesday I went out with Sussex IFCA to carry out a small fish survey in Rye Bayon their boat, the Watchful. I was rather excited the night before and despite a sleepless night and a 4.00 am start, I was wide awake and very alert as we left Shoreham Harbour at 6.00 am.

It was misty as we headed out to Rye Bay but it soon cleared by the time we starting trawling for the first of the samples. The best bird of the trip was a dark arctic skua.

We pulled up a couple of sea mice Aphrodita aculeata. I guess people who spend a lot of time at sea don't see many mice. It's actually a worm would you believe it!?

I saw four new fish including quite a few of these hook-nose, pogge or armed bullhead. Having neither arms or hidden weaponry, I would have thought Armoured Bullhead would have been more appropriate.

I also added solenette (we saw hundreds of them) and a few lesser sandeels.

But best fish of the trip has to be the tub gurnard with the most amazing bright-blue fins.

And of course, the highlight of the trip was seeing my first ever cephalopod in the form of this two cm long little cuttlefish Sepiola atlantica. I think this is a candidate for one of my favourite ever species!

Another striking creature was this compass jellyfish Chrysaorahysoscella with veins of caramel like stuff running through it. It looks like an alien's pudding.

It was a great day and seeing the whole of the East Sussex coast in calm sees and glorious sunshine on the way back was a real treat. Here is a very different view of Beachy Head. A big thank you to Kathryn Nelson and the rest of the team, I have definitely got the bug when it comes to sea life and I'll be doing more of this when I can. We processed nearly 3000 fish which was surprisingly hard work so I glad to be able to give something back. For the time being though my feet are on dry land.

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