It’s not always easy to tell one fish from another – especially as there are probably well over 250 different species in Welsh seas. But now, help is at hand.
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A colourful and comprehensive guide to help identify and record fish in Welsh seas has been published by Marine Wildlife, with grant aid from the Countryside Council for Wales and in co-operation with the Marine Conservation Society and Welsh Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.
The book – Marine Fishes of Wales - will be a useful manual for anglers, fishermen, divers and rock-poolers – indeed, anyone interested in identifying fish.
A website - www.fishrecording.info - has been set up to coincide with the book's
release so that anyone, whether they want to record the fish they see or catch regularly or report any interesting or unusual marine fish, can log the details. The information gathered will help CCW and others build up a more accurate picture of the fishes in Welsh seas.
Recalling diving trips around the coast of Wales, naturalist Iolo Williams says in his
Foreword to the book: “There were multi-coloured wrasse, shark-like dogfish, gruesome-looking conger eels and shoals of Pollack. There were also silvery sandeels, perfectly camouflaged blennies, gobies and gurnards and a myriad of others that I’d never seen before. Frustratingly, in the following weeks, I couldn’t find a comprehensive guide book that could tell me what I’d seen. Now, thankfully, such a book exists – an invaluable tool for 10-year-old rock poolers, fishermen, naturalists and divers alike.”
Mandy McMath, CCW marine specialist said: “Some species, if recorded routinely,
could reveal important information on climate change and seasonal migrations. We
are also keen to hear from people who see unusual and endangered species; species where information gaps exist – such as information on migratory species at sea; and species encountered by commercial fishermen and anglers.”
The website, Fishrecording.info has been developed by MarLIN and Salacia in Plymouth. Data collection methodologies such as fish recording forms and specialist identification keys have been developed by Dr Andy Woolmer, a fisheries specialist working with the Welsh Federation of Fishermen’s Association.
Paul Kay of Marine Wildlife is also interested in hearing from people who know of local place names that refer to fish or Welsh colloquial names for fish species.
Paul said: “Local dialect can often throw light on local history and local natural features. For example, Porth Ysgaden in Pen Llyn, Gwynedd, translates as Herring Port. Although no herring are found here now, they must have been an important resource in the area in the past.”
So, if you’ve any information to share contact Paul Kay’s website, Marine Wildlife
Marine Fishes of Wales
by Paul Kay and Frances Dipper
Available from the Marine Conservation Society. Your local angling shop may also stock copies.
Website: Marine Conservation Society