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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 Expandable Tray!!!

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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 Expandable Tray as a prize!!!

The Bigblue expandable tray (176mm-287mm) has fittings and screws to attach action and compact cameras. The base and handles are made from high grade aluminium with the handles having a neoprene grip. The package also includes clamps and adaptors for 1” ball and YS light fittings.

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 that the Handicapped Scuba Association South Africa has announced plans to host their 6th Annual fundraising event “HSASA 50hr Dive–A-Thon 2021” this year. But on what dates will the event take place?

Is it:

  • A) 15th – 17th October
  • B) 22nd – 24th October
  • C) 29th – 31st October

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

Liquid Sports Bigblue Extendable Tray March 2021

Competition
  • 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 14/04/2021. 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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Dive Training Blogs

Jeff chats to… Jim Elliott and Tinamarie Hernandez of Diveheart (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Jim Elliott, Founder and President of Diveheart, and Tinamarie Hernandez who is the organization’s Executive Director.

Diveheart is a US-based, nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization which aims to provide and support educational scuba diving programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability, with the hope of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to that person.

In their own words:

We’ve discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of the water column provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we’re all equal.

Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Diveheart seeks to help its participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives.

 

Find out more about Diveheart and their valuable work at www.diveheart.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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