Fisherman lands a surprising catch

AN unfamiliar visitor to our shores has washed up in a fisherman’s net off Harwich.

The Atlantic bonito, also known as a Sarda sarda, was landed in the North Sea near the Gabbard sandbanks.

The fish, which was 55cm long and weighed 1.7 kg, was caught by Peter Caunter while he was netting for bass.

Mr Caunter donated the fish to scientists at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), in Lowestoft, for further study.

Dr Jim Ellis, from Cefas, said: “Atlantic bonito tend to be found in warm waters, and this is an unusual species to be caught off East Anglia.

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“There have been other oceanic fish reported from the North Sea in recent months, including blackfish and Ray’s bream.

“We’re always very interested in hearing about any unusual fish being caught, as it enables us to learn more about not only unusual species, but how the seas off Britain may be changing.”

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The Atlantic bonito is a small type of tuna and a close relative of the mackerel.

A fast-swimming fish, it is most commonly found in warmer waters.

UK fishermen occasionally catch them off southwest England, but there are very few records of this species in the southern North Sea.

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