Warm-water fish caught off Jersey coast point to ‘species migration’

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A FISH usually found in southern waters has been caught near the island, another sign that marine species are moving north.

Marine resource specialist Simon Bossy said the comber (Serranus cabrilla) he caught recently was becoming a more common visitor to Jersey shores.

The former director of the Department of Marine Resources was fishing for sea bream and mackerel a few miles off the south coast when he made the unusual catch, and said the fish were normally seen in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the southwest Indian Ocean.

The Mr Bossy comber fish caught Photo: SIMON BOSSY

“Although it is apparently rarely found in the English Channel, I understand that it is now being caught more regularly by local fishermen, and this may be another sign that more marine species from the south are moving down north in greater numbers,” Bossy said.

“Global warming and climate change are definitely an issue, but change can happen all the time in nature.

“About 20 to 30 years ago, a new algae was discovered around the island. People feared it would continue to grow and clog the English Channel, but it reached a certain level and stopped spreading. Since then we have learned to live with it and it is now home to many species of fish.

Mr. Bossy is also a Gyotaku engraver – a traditional Japanese method of printing fish – and decided to do a comber print. He said: ‘I had never seen one before and unfortunately it was damaged and unlikely to survive.

“It was quite an attractive fish, so I decided to keep it and take a Gyotaku imprint of it so as not to ruin its life and preserve its image.

“I caught two more afterwards, and both made it back to the sea safe and sound.”

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