Experts have made a rare sighting of a swordfish at what will become the largest wind farm in Scotland.
It is thought to be the “second ever” sighting of the species in Scottish waters, caught on camera thanks to a wildlife survey at SSE Renewables’ Seagreen wind farm site around 17miles off the Angus coast.
HiDef Aerial Surveying spotted the “highly migratory” two-metre fish, which is usually seen in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean or Caribbean.
After capturing the footage in August, the sighting has now been ratified by experts.
Jim Ellis from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science 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 etc. have a proportionally shorter bill.”
Our @HiDefSurvey team were surprised to get this AMAZING #Swordfish while pouring over the digital video surveys for one of the planned offshore windfarms in the North Sea! Scotland's 2nd record! SUPER cool! https://t.co/7U9h9xq2bY
— Dr. Grant Humphries (@GrantHumphries) January 27, 2020
Meanwhile Walter Golet, from the University of Maine’s School of Marine Science, added: “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.”
Seagreen Offshore Wind Farm is expected to have a £6bn lifetime investment and could bring thousands of jobs to the area during the construction phase.
The project, with up to 114 turbines, aims to deliver enough power for a million homes each year.
Footage of the swordfish was captured via a UAV travelling at 125 miles per hour from 1,800 feet up.
The video footage was zoomed in 700% to spot the fish near the water’s surface.
HiDef associate director Martin Scott said: “We have seen some incredible things over the years but this one is particularly gratifying. It shows how aware and alert our team are, not just on a day to day basis, but when confronted with an obscure oddity.”
Lis Royle, Seagreen’s consent manager added: “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.”
In 2016 another swordfish was sighted at the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point.