Mumbles Motor Boat & Fishing Club 
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Hooked on Fish - Hooked on Fishing

Tight Lines All Round

   MMBFC Home      Fish and Fishing      Fish Recording Schemes
Shark Type Species
The Shark Trust is the UK charity for shark conservation. The Trust works to advance the worldwide conservation of sharks through science, education, influence and action.
Sharks rank amongst the most endangered species on the planet. As apex predators sharks fulfil a key role in marine ecosystems. Did you know between 50 and 70 million sharks are caught each year world wide. Thirty percent of EU and fifty percent of UK shark species are listed as threatened and some species are reported to have declined by ninety nine percent. Populations continue to decline under the intense pressure of unmanaged modern fisheries practices, driven by global consumer demand for shark based products.
We would like all members to record their sightings of sharks, rays and skate catches and submit them to Committee Member Si Clark who will then report them to the Shark Trust to help  build up their database of the species in the Bristol Channel. Use the following links to identify the exact species before recording them. Submitting your sightings not only lets you share with the world the animals you have seen, but also generates important data for researchers and conservationists working with sharks, skates and rays around the world. Your sightings will contribute to the understanding of many species, providing some of the best available data for their management, helping ensure a sustainable future for sharks, skates and rays. All Oystercat fishing trips will be doing their part by recording catches and then submitting them to the Shark Trust.For more information go to the Shark Trust Website

Shark Fact  Sheets

The Shark Trusts shark fact sheets provide detailed species information and includes a full reference list for further reading.

Each factsheet includes the species; scientific name, common name, distribution, appearance, similar species and teeth. An ecology and biology section includes information about their habitat, diet, reproduction and commercial importance, threats conservation, legislation, IUCN Red List Assessment and handling advice.

You download individual fact sheets for the 35 species of shark encountered in British and Irish waters, as well as 19 other species recorded elsewhere in the North East Atlantic. Examples below.

Blue shark
Porbeagle shark
Thresher shark
 Shortfin Makro shark

Record your Catch

You can go the shark trust's website and use their online form to record your catches of sharks, skates and rays in the Bristol Channel.

In presenting your results, the Shark Trust will take the utmost care in ensuring all marks are handled in complete confidence. The Trust will never disclose specific marks, with all maps and reports displaying results using ICES statistical rectangles. At the same time, all their material and conclusions will be freely available, particularly to those participating in the project.

If you have a website account please log in and your personal details will automatically be entered into the on screen form, saving you time.  The following information is requested:

Contact Details
Please enter these characters below

 Ray and Skate Species
Ray and Skate Fact sheets
The Shark Trust’s skate and ray fact sheets provide detailed species information and includes a full reference list for further reading.
Each fact sheet includes the species; scientific name, common name, distribution, appearance, similar species and teeth. An ecology and biology section includes information about their habitat, diet, reproduction and commercial importance, threats conservation, legislation, IUCN Red List Assessment and handling advice.

You can download individual fact sheets for the 21 species of skate and ray encountered in British and Irish waters below.
Examples below:
 Common skate
 Long-nosed skate
 Blonde ray
 Cuckoo ray
Sandy ray
 Small-eyed ray
 Spotted ray
 Starry ray
Thornback ray
Undulate ray

MarLIN Recording

The Club is also participating in a Marine Fish Recording Scheme project to collect and make available information on the distribution and occurrence of marine and estuarine fish in that part of the Bristol Channel fished by Club members.

These reports are put into a database, which is accessible through a bespoke MMBFC group account on the Internet.  A few reports may need to remain confidential for conservation or other reasons.

This scheme, which is managed by MarLIN and backed by the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, will help scientists assess the present status of British marine fish and detect changes that may occur through human impacts or climatic factors. Historical records will be especially useful.

Every member be they boat angler, shore fisherman and even when walking on the cliff top or beach can help by reporting fish and other marine life they see to this scheme. Sightings can be submitted via a manual recording form available from the Clubhouse and on the Club boat.  Or,  click here to bring up a PDF copy of the form for printing out and then using.   Once developed it will be possible to enter the information online.

MarLIN also encourages volunteer recording through their Sealife Survey  on-line recording scheme and through a 24 hour recording hotline - 01752 255026.  MarLIN disseminates the information widely and provides feedback through the Web site. After validation and verification, records are put on-line and are passed to the NBN Gateway.  Go to to register, after which you can start entering your catch and shightings information.

MarLIN's role is to help develop common standards, provide resources, link to other schemes, encourage and develop volunteer recorders and to ensure accessibility to data by identifying and accessing data sets

Tope Monitoring (Tag A Shark)

A programme aimed at trying to establish the status of Tope in Welsh Waters.  Tope sharks are listed as vulnerable worldwide by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UCN) and protected in Wales by the Tope Prohibition of Fishing (Wales) Order 2008 .  They are also listed in Section 42 of the NERC Act 2006 which enables local authorities to establish action plans with the aim of achieving and maintaining favourable conservation status for Tope. Little is currently known about the population of Tope in Welsh waters and as a Club of sea anglers we have and can keep records of the fish we catch and are willing to share this information with regard to Tope for this particular project.  It would be helpful if members could help us to collect the following essential information with regard to Tope:

  • Fork
  • Length (measured from nose to fork)
  • Total Length (measured from nose to end of caudal fin/tail)
  • Girth (measured around the deepest part of the body)
  • Weight
  • Sex
  • Location where caught (Latitude/Longitude).

Tope exhibit a typical elasmobranch life history strategy demonstrating slow growth, late maturity and the production of small litter sizes (6-52 pups).  Tope can live in excess of 50 years.  At less than 2 meters in length the Tope is a moderate sized shark; it is very active and recorded as making migrations of up to 1600km. Pregnant females have been reported to move into shallow bays and estuaries to pup and the juveniles remain in inshore nursery grounds for up to two years. Tope may display single sex and size aggregation which can exacerbate any impacts from directed fisheries.

If you do happen to catch Blue Sharks, Porbeagle Shark, Smoothhound, Bull Huss or Spurdog record their details also and let us know.  Further information can be obtained from Jenni Hartley, Marine Biodiversity Officer, Fisheries Unit, Swansea.

Ray Tagging

Working in collaboration with the South Wales Fisheries Committee (SWFC) and Swansea University we are involved in a ray tagging programme within the Bristol Channel.  The main aim of the programme is ti investigate the migration patterns of juvenile rays.  This work relies heavily on the support of leisure anglers and as such the Club has been issued with an Information Return Pack from Jo Bayes of SWSF. The information that needs to be recorded is as follows:

  • Tag identification number (e.g. T9991 or P0001) see photo below.
  • Date and location of capture
  • Nose to tail length and/or wing width
  • Comments on the condition of the ray.

Tagging is the only method which offers the ability to gain an insight into the life history characteristics, migration movements and stock fluctuations of rays without killing them. The feedback received from the project on the fish we catch is very interesting, knowing where our fish was last caught and how much it has grown increases our enjoyment of the sport as each tagged fish we catch has a story, and each tag we put in is the start of another one.

Lobster Notching

The SWSFC was granted £336,816 (75% from EU FIFG and 25% WAG) to purchase for return to the sea of up to 24,000 female lobsters with a V-cut tail notch over the course of three years.  The landing of such lobsters was made illegal under SFC bye-law and more recently National legislation, and they act as a continuing brood stock to maintain the stocks.

About 30,000 V-notched  lobsters have been returned to the sea which would otherwise have found their way to market.

Science:    As part of the scheme some extra scientific work was undertaken. Paid for and returned lobsters are being banded and / or tagged. The blue or white (according to area of release) claw bands not only allow fishermen to identify V notched lobsters more easily, but allow their general movements to be tracked.
Cutting the notch in a female      Arrow points to the female's
                 lobster                                     cut notch
Cloured claw band (blue).         Lobster streamer tagging
Other two bands removed
       before releasing
Furthermore a 1000 lobsters will additionally have an individually numbered orange streamer tag attached to their underside. This will allow the movements of individual lobsters to be tracked as they get recaptured and reported.

Dr Andy Woolmer, Biologist for SWSFC said “Over a period of time we will be able to develop a picture of the extent to which these lobsters move around. Although early days yet and the reports are yet to be collated, it appears that a number of lobsters have moved south to be caught by North Devon fishermen, perhaps augmenting the lobsters within the established No Take Zone at Lundy Marine Nature Reserve.”

Together, the protection of juvenile shellfish (to minimum landing size at first spawning size) larger breeding populations and scientific understanding; these measures provide the basis for building upon the already healthy local stocks of lobsters in support of a viable, productive and sustainable fishery.

As part of the scheme 100 special V-notching pliers and 500 sets of specialist shellfish measuring gauges have been distributed free of charge to practising commercial lobster fishermen so that they are better able to return undersized shellfish and re – notch paid for lobsters as the notch grows out.

Annual lobster landings average between 70 and 100 tonnes (mainly taken between May and September) from the rocky coastline between Swansea and Cardigan.  Landings, number of juveniles and catch per pot has increased year on year over the last 5 years.

 A large female lobster (e.g. 150mm carapace size or 2 kilos in weight) can produce 20,000 eggs per year – more than three times as many as a smaller but legal sized lobster at 90mm carapace length.

Members are reminded that, if they come across a V-notched lobster they are obliged to return it to the sea – dead or alive.  It is an absolute offence to possess such a lobster at any time.

Minimum shellfish sizes