Saturday, 5 April 2014

Risso's remain

Risso's off Strumble:  Copyright Aaron John Photography

After getting back to our Ocean Lab base and sorting a few things out yesterday, John, Joel and self went on to the outer breakwater to see if the Risso's were still about. We took a couple of telescopes  onto the outer breakwater we soon located some large fins over towards where we had seen them from the ship. 

Most cetaceans are difficult to count but Risso's are really difficult to track and count. They tend to travel in loose groups, often several hundred metres apart. (and at least around here) generally some distance offshore. Submerging for several minutes at a time they can pop up anywhere within half a mile or so of where you saw them last sometimes splitting up sometimes grouping together. This was the case with the ones we saw yesterday, we had at least five in one group and several sightings of singles or pairs. I would guess we had between six and ten in front of us during the time they were visible before they seemed to head off with the tide to the west. 

Local Fisherman Roger Clark tells me he has seen them around since before the beginning of March and given the stormy weather could have been around longer without being seen. We know that squid come here to lay their eggs because Roger and the other fishermen find them attached to their pot ropes from around November into the early spring. Squid are supposed to be the main prey of Risso's so it figures they would come here as well . As such they should be protected by European Law.