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Subject: Barracuda, Sphyraena, in English Channel
From: Richard Lord <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 3 Dec 2001 13:25:33 -0000

text/plain (42 lines)

Doug Herdson, Information Officer, at the Plymouth Marine Aquarium would like to know if there have been any records of barracuda, Sphyraena sphyraena, off the French coast of the Channel?  What is the most northerly record for this species (prior to this one) in the North Atlantic?  A barracuda was caught recently off Lizard Point, Cornwall.  I believe this is the first (recent) record for a barracuda in UK waters.  Information about the capture is below.

-----Original Message-----
From:   Douglas Herdson [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
Sent:   27 November 2001 16:05
To:     'British Marine Wildlife'; 'Cornish Wildlife'
Cc:     'Kelvin Boot'; 'Richard Lord'; 'Tony Stebbing'
Subject:        [glaucus] First British Record of Sphyraena sphyraena

A barracuda was landed at Newlyn Fish Market yesterday morning  (26th November 2001), which had been netted by the F.V. Regina Maris 6 miles off the Lizard, Cornwall, U.K.  The exact position, date of capture and gear are not yet known, but it is thought that this was a bottom set net, probably fishing for Pollack.
This is the first record of a barracuda in British waters.  Dr Paul Gainey has examined and photographed the fish and I was sent photos by the Western Morning News. (Apparently there have also been pictures in the Times and there will be an illustrated report by Phil Lockley in this week's Fishing News.) We are both certain that it is a barracuda and Alwynne Wheeler accepts this. The data I have is that the fish is 106 cm (total length) and 4.2 kg (gutted, so probably an ungutted weight of over 4.5 kg).
Of the three species found in the North East Atlantic and Meditterranean only Sphyraena sphyraena extends north to the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula and southern Bay of Biscay, also neither of the other species exceeds 65 cm TL.
This specimen appears to be a European Barracuda Sphyraena sphyraena  on the basis of the size, elongated body shape, fully-scaled preoperculum, dark elongated head (like a rocket's nose cone with the upper jaw fitting neatly into a prognathous lower one) and approximately twenty dark vertical half bars along its body. It does not have the pale tips to the lobes of the tail nor the black blotches on the belly and lower flanks which are diagnostic of Sphyraena barracuda.
The fish, which was bought for 16 by John Strike, is at present on display in ice at the Quayside Fish Centre in Porthleven, Cornwall, and will be frozen and sent up to the Natural History Museum in London.
Douglas Herdson
Information Officer
National Marine Aquarium
Rope Walk
Plymouth  PL4 0LF

Telephone: (+44)01752 275216/01752 600301
Fax: (+44)01752 275217
Email: [log in to unmask]

Yours sincerely,
Richard Lord
Guernsey GY1 1BQ
Great Britain

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Tel: +44 (0)1481 700688
Fax: +44 (0)1481 700699

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