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Diving with British Marine Life: The Grey Triggerfish

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Part 2 of a new series by blogger Georgie Bull…

Before starting University last September, I dove Chesil Cove in the hope that I could get a glimpse of a triggerfish on the Royal Adelaide wreck. Grey triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) are seasonal visitors to our waters and are known to congregate on the wreck at a similar time each year. They are often fished off or battered by storms fairly rapidly, so sightings are temporally confined too.

 For anyone unfamiliar with Chesil, large pebble ridges create a wonderful pre and post dive work out for any diver keen enough to get in. Jon Bunker (Instagram: @jon_bunker) my Dorset dive buddy did a fantastic job of locating the wreck, and we had a very pleasant dive overall. Jon has invited me along on lots of his diving antics, and he’s the main reason I have so many photos to share.

On the dive we saw the likes of jewel anemones, congers, and a wonderful variety of wrasse. Without a trigger in sight, a couple of tompot blennies fighting one another became the main highlight. After the dive we spoke to a recreational angler on the beach, who mentioned he’d caught (and returned) a triggerfish while we were in the water. We were so close to a sighting!

Once I’d recovered from the pebble ridges and put my kit away, I accepted that I’d have to wait until next year.

Fast forward to a few weeks time, and the University of Plymouth’s Scuba Society were running their first shore club dive at Firestone Bay. I joined in, hoping to see a few different tunicates or echinoderms that I may not see so often in Lyme Bay. Instead, I was greeted with a large and relatively healthy triggerfish sat on the substrate. It turns out, I didn’t need to scale pebble ridges or use Jon’s impressive navigation skills to have an encounter with this species!

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Triggerfish have defensive spines on their dorsal which are used to avoid predation, but also wedge themselves into crevices outside of harms way. Like their namesake suggests, the erection of their largest spine is triggered by the depression of a smaller spine closer to their head. Triggerfish are also known for aggressive behaviour, as they are particularly territorial over their nests.

Grey triggerfish are a Southern European species, and are valued by anglers both commercially and recreationally. This value has resulted in them being categorised as ‘vulnerable’ by IUCN. They are also the only triggerfish encountered in UK waters, with the other 39 species of triggerfish found typically in warmer waters.

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In recent years, it’s been reported that grey triggerfish are becoming increasingly common in the UK. We have plenty of evidence to suggest that our oceans are warming, and we know from previous instances that migratory pelagic fish like the grey triggerfish are capable of shifting their distribution in response to environmental change.

In 1930, a grey triggerfish was recorded in St Malo, France; by the 1990s, they were being described as common in Jersey. In southern parts of the UK grey triggerfish sightings were unheard of too, up until the early 2000s. They are now regarded as common in some areas (like Chesil) at certain times of the year. It would be interesting to see this shift quantified more and understand if the increased catch rates may also be influenced by changing fishing methods and intensity.

References:


Hear more from Georgie here: https://georgiebullphotography.home.blog/

Georgie is a Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology student at Plymouth University and an active diver in the South West of England. This year she will be completing the HSE Scuba qualification with the University in the hope that scuba will become part of her future career. She is particularly interested in native species and has a soft spot for elasmobranchs and molluscs.

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WIN a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!

This torch delivers 1200 lumens of light powered by an ion rechargeable battery. There are 4 levels of brightness with burn times between 2-20 hours. Battery charge level is indicated via coloured lights around the on/off button. The beam angle is 10°. The anodised aluminium alloy housing sealed by double ‘O’ rings with a max operating depth of 100m. SRP £125.00 which includes torch, charging cradle and battery.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported via the Marine Conservation Society that the UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act is the first legislation of its kind in nearly how many years?

Is it:

  • A) 60
  • B) 50
  • C) 40

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch November 2020

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  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 06/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Northern Diver Christmas Sale starts TODAY!

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This year Northern Diver’s Christmas offers are starting on Black Friday and running until midnight on New Year’s Eve! 

There are some great deals to be had across the site – www.ndiver.com – from discounted Drysuits and Coltri compressors to 15% off their entire Lighting Section!

And if you can’t find the perfect present for the diver in your life, they have a choice of Gift Cards on offer. They are even giving you £25 extra when you purchase a £100 voucher!

The offers don’t stop there – there is FREE shipping on all orders over £100 and even a FREE gift with every online purchase.

Every purchase will get you entered into a great prize draw to win one of their new Electracore 3.0mm Rechargeable Heated Vests!

And should you find that you need to return any of your purchases, Northern Diver understand that Christmas may be a little different for everyone this year and you may not get to see every one over Christmas, so they have extended their Returns Period to the end of January 2021. (Valid for purchases made from Black Friday to end of December 2020).

Some unmissable offers to look out for are the Varilux Zoom, part of the Varilux Black & Gold Range, with its variable beam width; and Northern Diver’s 4mm compressed Neoprene Drysuit, the Voyager, which is on offer for an incredible £475!

For more information visit the Northern Diver website by clicking here.

Photo credit: Joe Duffy

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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