Friday, 23 August 2013

Swordfish caught in the UK!

People will tell you that there are some species of fish that you will never ever see landed around the UK’s waters. And this is one of them caught in a Salmon net from the UK’s waters yesterday.
These are very rare to the UK coastline but it just goes to show that sometimes strange things do happen at sea.

This fish was caught on the morning of Wednesday August 22nd just off of Sunderland’s North East Tyneside Coast from the famous Souter Lighthouse by Ian Wakenshaw on the ‘Beverley Ann’, a catamaran that specialises in netting Wild Salmon and Sea Trout.

Fishmonger Rob Latimer now has this prize catch on his slab. It is the second Swordfish Rob has heard of being caught in North East waters in the last few years. When it comes to sea fish it is always worth noting that there are no fences out there, and quite often larger fish species will follow large shoals of smaller bait fish as they feed on them and this will occasionally take them way off course.

Swordfish are normally found in tropical climes of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans where the water temperature is up around 18 °C (64 °F) and 22 °C (72 °F) so you can appreciate that it is very rare to see them stray into the cold North Sea. They are actually known for moving into colder water in the warmer months to feed, and among the Billfish the Swordfish does have the highest tolerance to temperature.
In fact on the What Fish UK ‘Preferred Territory’ map, we have placed the last reported sighting that we could find as Barry Island in Wales along the South West Coast of the UK, the nearest facing to the Swordfishes natural habitat.

Back in 2009 a Mr Jim Nettleton watched a group of gulls picking at something on the beach at Barry in Wales, on closer inspection he found a dead Swordfish washed up on the shore.
(Photograph by Jim Nettleton)

Swordfish were caught in the late 20th century in the waters off of Ireland but they have not been there in number for many years.
We have seen one report of Swordfish being caught (again in a net) up in Northumberland back in 2007 by a Mr Peter Dent (Photograph by Alan Charlton) This fish unfortunately suffered injuries and also had to be destroyed.

There have been a few other sightings of Swordfish around the UK from places such as Poole Harbour in Dorset and Teignmouth on the South Coast of Devon. A Jackie Hazel and Paul Fenton happened to be on board Tiger Charters dive vessel from Devon when they photographed a large fish in the water that swam past the boat a few times before disappearing. The fish was 3 metres in length including its stunning sword shaped snout, this would indicate a Swordfish from other conformed records. They managed to get this shot of the fish.

All of the fish caught/found have been around the 1.5m – 2m mark weighing in from 30kg up to 75kg. 

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