Rare species

Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) have been videoed a few times in Manx waters in 2022 and 2023. Tuna were all but wiped out in Britain in the 1960’s due to commercial fishing. They are now making a dramatic comeback and re-establishing themselves in former hot-spots. Fishing for tuna commercially is now illegal in Manx waters and most of Britian.

A leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was observed at the Point of Ayre by a shore angler in 2020. We have had one or two other sightings since 2007. 
They are the only species of oceanic turtle that can cope with the colder waters. 

Three loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) were stranded on the island in January 2016. This species can’t cope with colder waters and will often succumb to ‘cold shock’ and be in need of rescue

Two long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) have stranded on the coast near Jurby, one in 1996 and another in 2020

Sunfish (Mola mola) are observed in Manx waters sporadically (usually once every few years). The latest sightings occurred near Port Erin and Marine drive in 2023. Juveniles and smaller adults of this species are often seen in Cornish waters.

A swordfish (Xiphias gladius) was observed and photographed by the MWDW team on a boat survey 4 miles west of the Isle of Man in 2022. They are very rarely observed around the British Isles with fewer than 8 sightings recorded. This was the first record in Manx waters. They are usually found in the Northwest Atlantic and Mediterranean. 

A sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) stranded at Derbyhaven on the Manx coast in 1925 and its skeleton is now hanging in the Manx museum in Douglas

A striped dolphin (Stenella coruleoalba) live stranded and subsequently died at Castletown in 2017. The specimen was collected for the Manx museum

There has been a stranding of a white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) in 1955, as well as a sighting in 2022 with a probable species identification due to a low quality video

As climate conditions change over the coming years and fish stocks increase, it is likely we will see visits from other species – keep your eyes peeled and always report if you think you have seen something interesting