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“Incredibly Rare” Swordfish Sightings – Telegraph Fake News

October 9, 2022

By Paul Homewood



h/t Ian Magness

Yet more woeful reporting from the Telegraph:





Contrary to the claims of “incredibly rare”, swordfish are a common sight in British waters.

Ian sent me this link, which contains numerous sightings and discoveries of dead swordfish. There are far too many to list, but this clip gives an idea:




This snippet gives a clue as to why sightings may now be more common:


They are often called a Broad-billed Swordfish, but there is only one species in the world.  They are found throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the world but appear to prefer sea temperatures of 18°C to 22°C, migrating to cooler waters to feed in the summer.  These oceanic fish chase herring and mackerel and are among the fastest fish reaching 90 km.h-1 (56 mph).  This is in part due to their being warm-blooded, which allows not only their muscles but also their brain and eyes to work more efficiently.

By 1998 the swordfish population of the North Atlantic was thought to have declined, due to overfishing, to only 35% of its original size.  Once mature a female can produce 30 million eggs each year, giving the stock the capability of rapid recovery.  However the females do not mature until they reach 70 kg, and the average size now landed is a mere 40 kg.  When the population was first commercially targeted in the early nineteenth century the average fish landed weighed over 200 kg.  Such a decline is a classic feature of overfishing.  Drastic fisheries control measures are now in force for swordfish in the North West Atlantic, but is disputed as to how effective these have been and it is claimed that the stock is still at only half the level of a sustainable population.

According to NOAA:


Today’s North Atlantic swordfish population is a great fishery rebuilding story. 

Twenty years ago, this predatory fish was in trouble. Their population had dropped to 65 percent of the target level. This means there weren’t enough North Atlantic swordfish in the water to maintain their population in the face of fishing by the many countries who share the resource.

Fast forward to 2009 and the international commission that manages species like swordfish declared the Northern Atlantic stock fully rebuilt. That announcement came a year ahead of the 2010 target date set in the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna’s (ICCAT) 10-year rebuilding plan.


Trust the Telegraph to turn a good news story into another climate scare story!

  1. Ben Vorlich permalink
    October 9, 2022 11:26 am

    Over fishing caused the population decline and disappeance, but climate change made their reappearance near the Isle of Man possible. It was nothing to do with fishing controls and repopulating then?

  2. October 9, 2022 11:37 am

    Ian M seems to have an eagle-eye for spotting false claims of ‘rare’ sightings.

    So far this year he’s already spotted more false claims of ‘rare’ species-sightings than Britain’s had visits from Bee-eaters. 😉

    • magesox permalink
      October 9, 2022 12:07 pm

      Thank you JP – very kind.
      Here’s one I am really struggling with though. I have just moved to Wiltshire where a “climate emergency” was declared in 2019 by the county council. It’s really strange – I keep looking for evidence of this emergency but simply cannot find any – not a sausage (apart from delicious locally made ones). My powers of research and observation are clearly declining badly.

      • Chris Phillips permalink
        October 9, 2022 1:28 pm

        Councils declaring “climate emergencies” are unfortunately all too common. The fact is that such issues are absolutely nothing to do with local Councils who should just be providing efficient local services (which many do not, citing lack of funding). But, aside from this, even if there was a climate emergency, nothing a local council could do would make the slightest difference to it. So it’s just self-indulgent virtue signaling at Council Tax payer’s expense.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        October 9, 2022 3:45 pm

        Councils receive money from central government if they declare a climate emergency.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        October 10, 2022 4:00 pm

        Local councils can make a difference as since Crawley council declared it was a nuclear free zone there have been no nuclear missile strikes on Crawley. It’s true that some consider that a shame but then you can’t please everyone.

  3. Gamecock permalink
    October 9, 2022 11:55 am

    Can’t they just enjoy the sighting?

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      October 10, 2022 6:40 am

      Swordfish, yummy!

  4. October 9, 2022 12:49 pm

    To be fair (if one can), The report is quoting what Jen Adams from the charity said and it is she that needs to do her homework. The article does conclude with the comment that “…the occurrence of exotic marine species is not new…” and points out that the gulf stream has brought warmer waters.

  5. Broadlands permalink
    October 9, 2022 1:22 pm

    The same applies to the iconic polar bear. Once recreational hunting was limited by law, the populations recovered. Global warming had nothing to do with it.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 9, 2022 1:49 pm

      Correlation is not causation.

      Sport hunting gives the indigenous people reason to care about the animals.

  6. johnbillscott permalink
    October 9, 2022 2:15 pm

    The warm waters of the Gulf Stream provide a path for swordfish, which are plentiful in eastern Canada, to northern Europe, principally southern Norway

  7. roger permalink
    October 9, 2022 10:50 pm

    Tuna were common in the North Sea following those same herring in the North Sea and there was a viable sports fishing effort into the 1950s
    There are again sightings of Tuna in that area as a pitiably slow recovery of Herring occurs.
    As always the greatest threat to fish stocks is the EU with their massive trawlers and disgraceful new fishing methods.

  8. D Hynes permalink
    October 11, 2022 2:09 am

    With regard to the reported 40.3C at Coningsby in July, what information is there about the weather station there? Was it near RAF Coningsby? Is this another case of a weather station being near a large raft of aerodrome concrete? Was there much activity from nearby RAF jets? I couldn’t find much on the subject.
    I unearthed an old 1969 Whitaker’s Almanac in a local second hand book store. Quote: “UK: The maximum shade temperature recorded in the air at 4 feet above ground is 100.5 F. (38.1 C) at Tonbridge, Kent (July 22, 1868).”

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