Britain: rare bigeye tuna caught. Global warming?

Bigeye tuna

From British daily The Independent:

In a week when 6ft swordfish and porbeagle sharks have arrived off the Northumberland coast, further evidence of Britain’s warmer waters has arrived with the landing of only the third bigeye tuna to be caught off British shores.

The 40lb specimen, one of the most highly prized species of tuna, is usually found off the coasts of Hawaii and Australia where it is generally preferred to the almost indistinguishable yellowfin tuna by discriminating purveyors of sashimi and sushi.

But this one was caught by a Penzance-based fishing vessel in the Atlantic – 70-miles off Land’s End and 2,000 miles adrift of its usual habitat.

It was promptly sold for £90 to a fish dealer at Crowlas, on the Cornish coast.

The only other known bigeye catches have been at Newlyn harbour in Cornwall, where a 15-year-old boy fished one out in 1985, and at Christchurch Bay in Dorset in 2004.

But the south-western tip of England is becoming accustomed to new arrivals.

Giant ocean sunfish were recently recorded for the first time by scientists who counted 19 of the species while conducting an aerial survey of coastal marine life in the area around Land’s End from Falmouth to Newquay.

Basking sharks have also ventured closer to land than ever before, attracted to an abundance of algae, jellyfish and smaller fish which thrive in the warm waters.

Experts are even debating the existence of great white sharks off the Cornish coast.

A BBC documentary last weekend reported alleged sightings by a number of holidaymakers and fishermen.

The bigeye (thunnus obesus), which is commonly mistaken for the yellowfin because of the similar yellow markings on its fin, exists in tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans where the surface temperature exceeds 17C (62F).

The nearest areas to Britain in which it is commonly found are the Azores – though the world’s biggest suppliers are Japan, Taiwan, Spain and Korea.

‘Grand daddy’ of Pacific [bigeye] tuna tagging program recaptured after 13 years: here.

Mark Fiore animation on global warming: here.

Swordfish in Wales: here.

8 thoughts on “Britain: rare bigeye tuna caught. Global warming?

  1. Climate: Aerosols, Cloudiness, and Climate

    What is the net impact of anthropogenic aerosol emissions on
    Earth’s climate? Is it similar in magnitude to that of greenhouse
    gases? Do aerosols mostly affect the amount of solar radiation
    reflected back into space, or do they also have a substantial
    effect on the hydrological cycle? Many recent studies have tried
    to answer these questions, but the picture gets ever more…

    Full report at


  2. National Climate March

    Saturday 4th November 2006

    Part of the International Demonstrations ( see here ) planned for the next round of UN Climate Talks in Nairobi.

    Rally at US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London, 12.00 noon
    For DETAILS OF TRANSPORT from your area to the demo click here
    To download leaflet for November 4th March click here


    Cycle protest assembles at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, South side (Holborn/Temple tube). Goes via ExxonMobil offices, Australian Embassy and Downing Street to arrive at US embasy at 11.30 am. For more information on the cycle ride click here.
    Rally opens : Messages from around the world, performance poetry & musical protest with “Seize the Day” and others.
    12 noon
    Main Rally at US Embassy, Grosvenor Square.

    Speakers include George Monbiot, Colin Challen MP, Caroline Lucas MEP, Norman Baker MP, Zac Goldsmith.
    1.00 pm
    March for Global Climate Justice from US embassy to Trafalgar Square
    1.45 – 2.00 pm
    March joins “I-Count” Mass Gathering in Trafalgar Square
    1.00 – 3.00
    “I-Count” Mass Gathering in Trafalgar Square

    The 4th November is the Saturday before the UN Climate Talks (COP 12/ MOP 2) in Nairobi (6th-17th November). On this day there will be demonstrations and events, demanding urgent action on climate change all round the world ( see ). In Nairobi, itself, there will be a demonstration a week later on Saturday 11th November, midway through the Talks, whilst the delegates are actually present.
    Only coordinated international action has a chance of averting the massive threat posed by climate change so these Talks are a critical opportunity for world leaders to act. Their failure to do so, so far – due especially to the spoiling tactics of the US under George Bush’s fossil-fuel industry dominated administration – is something that threatens the lives of billions and even the very existence of life on earth.
    Last year (see below ) we had 10,000 on the streets of London and demonstrations in more than 20 countries : this year we need more people at the London demo and more demonstrations around the world. And we need to build the demonstrations – nationally and globally – bigger again each year until we have created an irresistible tidal wave of protest that will push world leaders to take the radical action we so urgently need to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate.


  3. From Google cache of Dear Kitty ModBlog

    7/17/05 at 12:47PM

    Mood: Looking Playing: Smoke on the waters, by Deep Purple

    July 2005, at the North Sea beach of Wassenaar in The Netherlands, the head of an Atlantic bluefin tuna was found.

    It is now in the Natural History Museum in Leiden.

    This is only the fourth time since 1900 that this big Atlantic Ocean fish was found in The Netherlands.

    The bluefin tuna is maybe the biggest bony fish in the world; even bigger than the (fresh water) Mekong giat catfish.

    The biggest bluefin tuna ever found was 4,26 m long; its weight was about 900 kilogram.

    This is still much smaller than the whale shark (not a bony fish).


    Also found recently in the North Sea, and now in the Leiden Natural History Museum, the skull of a mammoth.

    It is from about 35.000 to 50.000 ago: the Ice Age, when much of the North Sea was still land.

    It is the skull of a bull mammoth of about 30 years old when he died.


  4. 2007-10-31 11:43
    Swordfish confirm changing climate
    Warmer water extends fishing season by 2 months

    (ANSA) – Rome, October 31 – The presence of swordfish in seas off Italy even as late as October confirms the speed with which climate change is raising the temperature of Mediterranean waters, marine biologists warn. Experts at the Scientific Research and Applied Technology Institute for the Sea (ICRAM) say abnormal numbers of swordfish are staying in the strip of sea between Italy and Sicily well beyond the normal summer visiting time. This is confirmed by local fishermen who catch the fish from traditional ‘felucca’ boats using harpoons. For for over 400 years the last day for the fishing of swordfish has been August 10.

    “This year swordfish were still being caught in the Strait of Messina during the first week of October,” said ICRAM’s scientific director, Silvio Greco. “This is alarming information as it confirms the impact of climate changes”.

    Swordfish are highly migratory by nature. They usually concentrate in the Strait of Messina and around the Aeolian Islands in May and June, where they spawn, before heading for other spots such as the Ligurian Sea and the Sardinian Sea.

    But this year droves of swordfish were lingering off the coast of Calabria well into autumn. Experts say this information was particularly disturbing as the clusters included hundreds of newly spawned young.

    “Catching swordfish at this time of year is most peculiar. Climate change is modifying the state of Italian seas, confirming a worrying trend”.

    A recent ICRAM survey showed that deep-water temperatures in the Mediterranean, even in winter, had risen an average two degrees in recent years.

    The study said temperatures at a depth of 100 metres on the western side of Italy reached 15 degrees centigrade last winter compared to the usual 13 degrees.

    In the eastern Adriatic Sea, the study cited data from the winter of 2003 showing temperatures had risen to 13 degrees. Average winter temperatures for this body of water during the 20th century was five degrees, it said.

    The report said the Mediterranean’s warming would have serious consequences for marine life and the sea’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide. Italy and the rest of southern Europe are seen as being particularly vulnerable to the onset of climate change.

    A recent United Nations report said average temperatures in Italy could increase by as much as five degrees centigrade by the end of the century, causing a 25-30 cm rise in sea levels.

    Another environmental study released this year warned that 32% of Italian territory was under threat from desertification – especially in the south – because of climate change and the resulting drop in rainfall levels.


  5. Exotic fish washes up on beach

    Jul 4 2008 by Catherine Mary Evans, South Wales Echo

    A SIX-FOOT long swordfish – usually found in the Pacific Ocean – has been washed up on Barry Island beach.

    The large fish – weighing more than 150lbs – was discovered by beach inspectors on the shore at Whitmore Bay in the early hours of yesterday.

    The rare specimen quickly attracted attention from marine biologists all across the UK, who were eager to take the fish to their centres for analysis.

    But it was decided to keep it locally at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

    Experts in marine biology at the museum will now undertake an analysis to confirm the exact species of the fish.

    It is hoped their findings will shed some light on how it came to end up on the Welsh shoreline.

    Marine biologist Peter Howlett said: “It definitely brightened up our day a bit when we got the call to say it had been found.

    “It’s been dead about three or four days, but we don’t know what killed it.

    “Swordfish are one of the top predators along with sharks, so there are very few things that could have killed it.

    “The only one found in British waters that I had heard of before this was in 1905 in the Bristol Channel.”

    He added that due to damage, the fish may not be kept for display in the museum, but a model may be made.

    “It’s not good enough to go on display, but we’ve got it in the freezer now and our model maker will have a look at it,” he said.

    A spokesman for the Vale of Glamorgan Council said: “This is a first for Whitmore Bay.”

    Swordfish normally frequent warmer waters such as the Pacific Ocean.

    They are said to be extremely agile and prefer to swim alone.

    See also here.


  6. Pingback: Mercury and seafood, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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