Fish bite marks in marine litter

After reading an online feature on marine litter with fish and Turtle bite marks , I decided to spent time looking for such objects on my local Dorset beaches .

This Winter has seen vast amounts of long haul debris coming across the Atlantic , remains of crab and Lobster traps , buoys and all the normal single use plastic items such as plastic bottles , closer inspection showed alarming amounts of litter with bite marks on them , from V shaped cuts left by juvenile Turtles , to shredded bites from Triggerfish and seabirds .

We are aware that the Atlantic Grey triggerfish is native to the UK , and the warmer waters off the Caribbean , they also travel beneath marine debris rafts , I'm unsure why they eat plastic , maybe removing Goose barnacles and other settlers .

Our book, The Essential Guide To Beachcombing And The Strandline describes this relationship in detail




Florida Rock snail

23rd December 2015

A new Dorset record , the Florida Rock snail Stramonita haemastoma

The day before I went to collect  recently stranded specimen of Stramonita haemastoma found in Kent , a possible first UK record for this Caribbean species , the following day we visited Chapmans pool in Dorset , a large plastic long line buoy was seen on the rocks , further investigation revealed clusters of eggs , not unlike our native Dog whelk , cutting the dead Goose Barnacles off resulted in four snails being found , along with 8 Columbus crabs Planes minutus , another new and exciting addition to the Trans-Atlantic species making their way to British shores .

Turtle rescue

23rd December 2015, we rescued an adult Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta stranded west of Chapmans pool Dorset .

The Turtle was reported the day before by walkers , because of weather conditions and bad light , it was decided we go to the location at first light , it was assumed the Turtle would have died the night before , however, it was still showing signs of life .

The location made retrieval difficult , but a dedicated team of experienced rescuers helped .

The Turtle was examined by vets at Weymouth Sealife Park , and it was decided the missing front flippers and other injuries made it impossible to save .

The body will have a post mortem , so we hope to at least find out why it stranded , and how so much damage was done .

Columbus Crabs arrive

9th November 2015

Last nights storm washed assorted fishing buoys onto Chesil beach in Dorset , among these were two large long line buoys from the USA / Canada .

Closer inspection showed that six rare Columbus Crabs ( Planes minutus ) were living amongst the Goose Barnacle stalks , along with the rarely recorded Caprellid Shrimp , Caprella andreae , a species know to live on Gulf stream debris .

Another Columbus Crab was found living inside a plastic pipe the following morning .

This once rare species appears to be a regular visitor to UK shores now , this could be that we simply know where to look , or that the massive increase in marine litter is creating more habitat that survives the journey across the Atlantic .