The sunfish also rises in Britain – again

Survey of the nation's coastal waters reveals the first sighting this year of the giant marine animal

A A A

The rare and bizarre-looking sunfish has been spotted for the first time this year off the British coast.

Two of the gigantic fish, which can grow to around 11ft (3.5m), were sighted in the waters off Polzeath and St Agnes, in Cornwall.

A fully grown sunfish weighs up to 2,200 lbs (1,000kg) according to the British Marine Life Study Society, and was last spotted off Britain last December, when a dead one washed up on a Norfolk beach.

The glimpse of the sunfish, by Richard Morton of Cardigan Bay Marine Centre, was one of many marine wildlife sightings across the country last week, as the Wildlife Trusts encouraged the public to record what they spotted for National Marine Week.

Members of the public joined event leaders nationwide to find a huge array of aquatic creatures, from a European common squid inshore at Porlock Weir, Somerset, to a 330ft-long bed of sand mason worms in Kingsdown, Kent.

At Cardigan Bay in Ceredigion, Wales, more than 1,000 sightings of bottlenose dolphins were recorded, along with harbour porpoises and Atlantic grey seals. Common dolphins were glimpsed in various parts of Cornwall, while a volunteer-led rockpooling survey on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, uncovered five-bearded rockling and a pike fish.

Joan Edwards, the Wildlife Trusts' head of living seas, said of National Marine Week: "It is wonderful to hear of the spectacular sightings people are witnessing, everything from sunstars to super pods of dolphins. We hope these encounters inspire and encourage everyone to get out and about and discover how surprisingly rich our seas are."

Marine birds were also spotted as part of the search. Some of the most dramatic sightings were recorded on and around the Isles of Scilly. On 30 July a boat trip saw 17 Cory's shearwaters and 10 great shearwaters – the first this year – and in the last week of July there were more than 750 Manx shearwater sightings around the islands.

Sunfish: The facts

* Their diet consists mainly of jellyfish.

* They are seen as a delicacy in Japan, Taiwan and the Korean peninsula.

* They can weigh up to 2,200lbs – the world's heaviest known bony fish.

* They can live for up to 10 years.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?