One of the beauties of living near the sea is being able to go fishing. And, of course, exploring. Although the nearby rock pools don’t hold much more than sea urchins and winkles when the tide goes out, I’m lucky enough to have some shrimp pots at my disposal and these are wonderful for investigating the creatures that live around the shoreline.
We do use the pots for catching shrimp – they usually yield enough for one meal for two per haul – but sometimes the weather can be too erratic or else we’re too busy to get out with the tides and we don’t get to collect the pots for a week or more. This is usually bad for two reasons: 1) the pots get damaged due to stormy weather or 2) the pots get damaged due to crabs trying to snip their way in (or their way out).
Yesterday, we hauled the shrimp pots after a three week stint in the sea. We let any shrimp go and instead, recorded our findings – our coastal treasures! Here’s what we accidentally collected…
This eel-like butterfish like muddy shores and is a staple food for the black cormorant, a frequent sight along the Irish coast.
The Common Blenny has little buggy eyes and a lovely greenish hue that makes it easy for hiding in seaweed. You might find him in rock pools.
This is the first Common Brittle-star I’ve ever seen, even though they’re meant to be widespread. It took a bit of patience for it to open all its legs after handling, but it was worth the wait!
A master of disguise, the spider crab is often overlooked but I think he’s a handsome chap!
I thought this looked more like a flat-backed millipede but they only live on land. A ragworm is the closest I can get to this creature of many legs! Surprisingly slow moving.
The Velvet Swimming Crab lives up to his name & is amazing to watch in the water. I love the shape and designs on his back legs – aren’t they gorgeous?
No idea what this is – still trying to figure it out. When you try and remove it, it spits water at you. Answers in the comments section please!
This edible brown crab was a gift from a local fisherman and I’m sorry to say, yes, he did go in the pot – but he was delicious.
But just in case you think it’s all fun and games, you do have to be careful. This was caused by a damaged shrimp pot. It caught me in several places as I pulled it in. Still, it was worth it for the investigations!