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Unusual fish

Many species of fish are occasional vagrants to British waters, especially some pelagic species that are brought to our shores by oceanographic currents.

LouvarLouvar: Luvarus imperialis is a tuna-like fish that is the only member of its family (Luvaridae). It is an oceanic species that feeds on gelatinous zooplankton and can grow to nearly 2 m in length. They are rare vagrants to British waters.

 pilot fish



Pilot fish: Naucrates ductor is a pelagic and oceanic species that associates with sharks, whales, sea turtles and even boats. Occasional vagrants are captured in the south-western waters of the British Isles.


stingrayPelagic stingray: Pteroplatytrygon violacea is a little-known stingray that is often captured in pelagic longline fisheries targeting tuna and tuna-like species in high seas fisheries. In recent years they have been reported south-west of Ireland, and two specimens have been captured in the North Sea.

Identifying unusual fish

If you find or catch an unusual fish, perhaps one you don't recognise, please provide:

  • where you found the fish (latitude and longitude)
  • how you caught it (if applicable)
  • when you found or caught the fish
  • the size of the fish
  • a photo of the fish, or a general description (if the fish is not one that you recognise)
  • any other information that you think might be relevant or helpful.

Then contact Cefas scientist, Jim Ellis. He will try to identify the species from the information provided. In addition, your information could be help us to build up a more comprehensive picture of the life in UK waters.

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Last Modified: 27 April 2014