Second ever Swordfish sighting in Scottish waters recorded

The rare visitor was identified swimming through an offshore wind farm 17 miles off the east coast.

Second ever Swordfish sighting in Scottish waters recorded
A swordfish, or broadbill, Xiphias gladius,was identified in the North Sea, 17 miles off the Scottish coast.

A swordfish has been spotted in Scottish waters for only the second time.

The rare visitor was identified swimming through an offshore wind farm 17 miles off the east coast.

A team of ecologists recorded the sighting at SSE Renewables’ Seagreen site last August.

Video footage shows the two-metre long fish swimming close to the surface.  

The sighting was confirmed by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science after a second opinion was sought.

Swordfish are more accustomed to warmer waters in the Caribbean or Mediterranean.

Jim Ellis from CEFAS said: “The distance from the tip of the bill to the origin of the first dorsal fin is a high proportion of the fork length.

“Marlins have a proportionally shorter bill.”

Walter Golet, from the University of Maine School of Marine Science said: “Swordfish have a huge latitudinal range and by the picture it appears to have a flat bill, and marlins (the only other confusion species) are all round.”  

The swordfish was filmed during an aerial survey of wildlife. Photo: HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd
The swordfish was filmed during an aerial survey of wildlife. Photo: HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd

The sighting was made by a team commissioned to carry out a series of digital aerial wildlife surveys over wind farm site.

Martin Scott at HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd said: “We have seen some incredible things over the years but this one is particularly gratifying.

‘We’re pleased we’ve been able to help record the second ever spotting of a swordfish in Scottish waters.’

Lis Royle, Seagreen’s consent manager

“It shows how aware and alert our team are, not just on a day to day basis, but when confronted with an obscure oddity.

“With the aircraft flying at 200km per hour and 1800 feet up it really does just go to show how good our systems are at recording wildlife.”   

Lis Royle, Seagreen’s consent manager said: “We’re pleased we’ve been able to help record the second ever spotting of a swordfish in Scottish waters.   

“It’s our duty to ensure that our projects are built with a detailed understanding of the natural environment and whilst we don’t expect the Seagreen swordfish to make an appearance again it was great to be able to capture this incredibly rare sighting during our survey work.”