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looks like a bedraggled cock salmon kelt (spawned fish) that has made it back to the tide, did it survive or was it on its last legs? I see it has already picked up quite a load of sea lice. That is assuming this is a fish which has just recently exited fresh water and returned to the salt.
It would make sense given the time of year and the poor condition of the fish.
Its in bad shape. Tail badly damaged but going by the fully formed fins I think its a wild fish alright and not a farmed escapee.
Thanks for all your knowhow, as I'm no angler. When I shepherded it to 1 end of pool to photo it wasn't very lively; & a fisherman friend thought the skin condition across the back a bad sign, so it didn't look too good. However 1ce it was in the weedy end of the pool it was amazing, even though I knew where I'd left it, how hard it was to spot again,even though in full view.
It was an interesting encounter Chris. Spent cock fish like that one which I have encountered at this time of year have always been dead and lying on the beach. I'd say there is little doubt it has been up a river and has spawned in the winter, the elongated jaws are typical of a cock fish in spawning mode, if the mouth was open youd see a pronounced hook to the lower jaw in the photo. You may well have observed that?
I think the vast majority of cock fish die after spawning, but this one has made it to the sea alive and if it got some nourishment, just maybe it could survive to spawn again. It needs a good feed!
Very nice encounter and lovely photos, thanks for sharing.
Damage to top of tail. Could be Otter attack?
Tail showing considerable damage, could be otter related. Also 2 vertical marks just behind the dorsal fin. Had they been to the fore of the dorsal, it would suggest the fish had fought its way through net at some point, being behind the dorsal fin its hard to say exactly what caused them, possibly occured at the same time the tail was damaged?
interesting the more you look at it.The two vertical marks have (I believe) puncture wounds at the top of them.Probably from canine teeth or perhaps although not so likely claw or poaching instrument.Two punctures definitely suggests canine teeth to me.
I wonder Chris would it be an idea to put this observation up in mammals(perhaps under the title 'Otter attack?') in order to bring it to the attention of some of the mammal experts such as Graham Banwell.Their opinion could help shed more light on the matter!
Otters due to the catastrophic decline of our Eels are now more inclined to hunt Salmon and White trout more so than before.
A great observation
Or possibly seal attack? I didnt notice the punctures but theyd be consistent with the 2 almost parallel tracks on the flank, punctures often go with the tracks on salmon and as you say, are tell tail signs of the fish having slipped the grasp of a set of canine gnashers. The distance between the punctures could be useful for deciding on which mammal was more the more likely culprit, if it were possible to estimate the gap?
Edit- the fact that the punctures are so far up the flank might suggest a mouth more like the size of a seals'? ? Just a thought.
V. interesting & hadn't occ'd to me, but pic2 shows holes clearly. The only trouble's my sizing effort. I found salmon lice (in a book) "attain 1to3cm", & using pic 1 at "originalsize+" measured 2nd fr bottom of group of 7 at 1cm so if that's its real size the salmon's 37+23.5=60.5cm or 23.8". The bite hole center to center would be 1.25". Sussexotters.org then gives bitesize otter=ab2" mink= ab1". (my hunch is it was over 2ft).
So I'll put it on mammals, mention yr pointers + reference back to this page.
it's worth a whirl.You never know what it might turn up.I reckon you're right the fish is small 2 - 2.5 foot or so looks about right to me.
My bet would be Otter.
As a matter of interest Chris my sister lives in Mumbles and I wonder how far that location is (on foot)from the pier say.
It's the far (N) end of Rhossili bay nr Bury Holm (& nearer to LLangenith)
I'll get there the next time I'm over.
Lat/Lng: 51.6092, -4.3095
OS grid ref: SS401925
Sandy pool next to Burry Holm. After heavy weather & obviously damaged (someone mentioned drift nets I think)