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‘Incredibly rare’ sighting of a SWORDFISH in UK waters: 3-metre-long fish spotted in Irish Sea

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‘Incredibly rare’ SWORDFISH sighting in UK waters: 3m fish are spotted leaping out of the water in the Irish Sea in one of only a handful of recorded sightings in the UK

  • On Saturday, a ten-foot swordfish was spotted five miles off the island of Man
  • Only five swordfish are thought to have been sighted in the British Isles
  • They prefer warmer waters, so their presence is a sign of rising sea temperatures
  • It may also indicate a healthy abundance of prey fish such as mackerel and herring

An ‘incredibly rare’ swordfish has been spotted in UK waters and is considered an indicator of rising sea temperatures.

The majestic 3 meter long fish – famous for its long pointed bill – was spotted in the sea five miles off the coast of the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

Swordfish are mostly found in the more tropical waters of the mid-Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean.

The sighting was caught on camera Saturday by members of the charity Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch.

Outreach and Education Manager Jen Adams said, “Suddenly we saw this huge animal leap out of the water.

‘I put on my binoculars and saw clearly that it wasn’t a dolphin and then recognized the long bill of a swordfish. There was no doubt.

“It was amazing to see and incredibly rare—something you wouldn’t expect in a million years.”

The majestic 3m swordfish – famous for its long pointed bill – was spotted in the sea five miles from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea

Swordfish are mostly found in the more tropical waters of the mid-Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean, so its presence in the UK is thought to be a sign of rising sea temperatures

Swordfish are mostly found in the more tropical waters of the mid-Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean, so its presence in the UK is thought to be a sign of rising sea temperatures

In addition to the warmer seas, the presence of the swordfish may be an indication of the healthy abundance of prey fish such as mackerel and herring in UK waters at present

In addition to the warmer seas, the presence of the swordfish may be an indication of the healthy abundance of prey fish such as mackerel and herring in UK waters at present

OCEAN HEAT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

The State of the Global Climate in 2021 report, published in May, revealed that the top two kilometers of the ocean reached the warmest level on record last year.

It is expected to continue to warm in the future — a change that is irreversible on centennial to millennial timescales.

Professor Albert Klein Tank, the director of the UK’s Met Office for Climate Science and Services, said: ‘About 90 percent of the heat from climate change is accumulated in the ocean and last year’s record indicates that climate change is advancing.’

Read more here

swordfish, or Xiphias gladiusare known for their agility in the water, reaching speeds of up to 22 miles per hour.

They are thought to use their ‘sword’ to cut and injure prey, rather than spearing small fish, as is often believed.

They pose no threat to humans and are listed as a near threatened species on the IUCN Red List primarily due to overfishing.

Only five swordfish are believed to have been sighted in the British Isles, their rarity due to the cooler waters.

However, as ocean temperatures rise due to climate change, marine animals have been found to migrate into new territories and shrink in size as well.

In addition to the warmer sea, its presence could indicate the healthy abundance of prey fish such as mackerel and herring in British waters at the moment.

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of large game species such as bluefin tuna and blue and porbeagle sharks, as well as large groups of dolphins thought to be attracted to the huge stocks of smaller fish.

Conservationists at Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch were on a boat surveying the most common mammals when they came across the unusual shape in the water.

They noted that its dorsal and tail fins had massive scars, most likely battle scars from fighting their prey

Only five swordfish are believed to have been sighted in the British Isles, their rarity due to the cooler waters

Only five swordfish are believed to have been sighted in the British Isles, their rarity due to the cooler waters

Conservationists at Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch were on a boat surveying the most common mammals when they encountered the unusual shape in the water

Conservationists at Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch were on a boat surveying the most common mammals when they encountered the unusual shape in the water

Outreach and Education Manager Jen Adams said, “Suddenly we saw this huge animal leap out of the water.  I put on my binoculars and saw clearly that it was not a dolphin and then made out the long bill of a swordfish.  There was no doubt about it.'

Outreach and Education Manager Jen Adams said, “Suddenly we saw this huge animal leap out of the water. I put on my binoculars and saw clearly that it was not a dolphin and then made out the long bill of a swordfish. There was no doubt about it.’

Mrs Adams added: ‘We’ve turned the engines off so we don’t deter it. After about ten minutes it reappeared and approached us.

“It was ten feet long and a third of it was the bill. It was huge.

‘Swordfish are offshore oceanic species found in the Northwest Atlantic and Mediterranean, not British coastal waters.

“I believe no more than five swordfish have been sighted in the UK.

“I have no idea what it was doing here. It baffled us.

‘Maybe it’s gone off course in search of food, they feed on oily fish like mackerel and herring.

‘We see a lot of large groups of about 200 dolphins this year and that is probably because there is a lot of food for them here. Perhaps that also applies to swordfish.’

Rising ocean temperatures around the world are causing sea creatures to flee from the equator to the north and south poles

Species living in the world’s oceans are fleeing to Earth’s poles in a desperate attempt to escape rising water temperatures closer to the equator.

Researchers studied more than 300 species — including plants, mammals and birds — to see where most species live today.

The study looked at data from more than 100 years and found that populations are now thriving closer to the poles.

At the same time, the number of marine animals and plants is declining near the equator as they struggle to adapt to warmer waters.

Read more here

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