July 6, 2008

Swordfish Washes Up on Beach ; First of Species to Be Found in British Waters Since 1905

By Catherine Evans

A SIX-FOOT long sword- Catherine Evans fish - usually found in the Pacific Ocean - has been washed up on Barry Island beach.

The large fish - weighing more than 150lbs - was discovered by beach inspectors on the shore at Whitmore Bay in the early hours of yesterday.

The rare specimen quickly attracted attention from marine biologists all across the UK, who were eager to take the fish to their centres for analysis.

But it was decided to keep it locally at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

Experts in marine biology at the museum will now undertake an analysis to confirm the exact species of the fish.

It is hoped their findings will shed some light on howit came toend up on the Welsh shoreline.

Marine biologist Peter Howlett said: "It definitely brightened up our dayabit when we got the call to say it had been found.

"It's been dead about three or four days, but we don't know what killed it.

"Swordfish are one of the top predators along with sharks, so there are very few things that could have killed it.

"The only one found in British waters that I had heard of before this was in 1905 in the Bristol Channel."

He added that due to damage, the fish may not be kept for display in the museum, but a model may be made.

"It's not good enough to go on display, but we've got it in the freezer now and our model maker will have a look at it," he said.

A spokesman for the Vale of Glamorgan Council said: "This is a first for Whitmore Bay."

Swordfish normally frequent warmer waters such as the Pacific Ocean.

They are said to be extremely agile and prefer to swim alone.

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WHITMORE Bay has been awarded the prestigious international Blue Flag for 2008.

It is the third time the Barry beach has received the award and is one of the 42 beaches and marinas across Wales to fly the Blue Flag this year.

Geoff Cox, the Vale of Glamorgan Council's cabinet member for visible and building services, said: "We should all be proud that Whitmore Bay has achieved Blue Flag status.

"Residents and tourists alike have access to a world-class beach."

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