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SEAHORSES AND STARFISH

Temperate fish have evolved to live in water at a temperature of 14–24°C, they are not cold water fish, nor are they strictly tropical. Temperate oceans are between the winter ice pack limit and the tropics. This is a region of mixed water as currents of warm tropical water moves toward the poles and cold polar water moves toward the equator.

Unlike the clear blue seas that can be found through the tropics temperate waters are a murky blue-green colour. Plankton is the reason behind the difference in appearance. The more murky the water, the more plankton it contains. Plankton are tiny organisms that float near the ocean surface. They obtain their energy through photosynthesis and are eaten by many creatures low on the food chain.

SCOTTISH SEAS

When we think about the best sea life and oceans we often forget how great Scottish seas are. Scotland has an astonishing 10% of Europe’s coastline. Framed by myriad sea lochs, firths and islands, the surrounding seas are home to a third of the global population of grey seals; the world’s most northerly population of bottlenose dolphins; 23 other species of the world’s 82 whales and dolphins and 43% of all seabirds breeding in the EU. The reason behind this varied eco system is because Scotland is the mixing ground of warm Gulf Stream currents and cold currents.

Fishing is one of the most important industries for Scotland. relative to the rest of the UK. Scotland has just 8.4% of the UK population but lands at its ports over 60% of the total catch in the UK. Due to the popularity of fully grown Sea Bass and Gilthead Sea Bream in restaurants and supermarkets we grow all our Scottish fish in the aquarium and don’t take any from commercial fisheries. Scotland appreciates the importance of this diverse eco system and has taken measures to protect it.

The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, together with the UK’s Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, allow us to protect some of our most precious wildlife. Among other things, these Acts provide Scotland with the powers to create new nature conservation Marine Protected Areas; develop the first marine planning system; and, put in place a new licensing system to help ensure any development in Scotland’s marine environment is sustainable.

EUROPEAN LOBSTER

European lobsters, in addition to the Mediterranean and Red Sea, are commonly found all across the UK coast. They are comfortable in generally shallow waters where the sea floor is rocky and muddy. There have been attempts to introduce the European lobster into other areas of the world but these have all been unsuccessful.

People are often surprised when they sea how blue lobsters are as they often associate them with a bright red look. This red colour only appears when cooked as the heat breaks down the proteins in the lobster. When alive they do a have a little bit of pink at the end of their claws. Each of their claws look different and are used for different functions . The crusher claw is extremely powerful and can break down hard shelled crustaceans and the cutter claw can be used to cut up softer prey with it’s sharp inner edge.

Through the Summer female lobsters will become softer and this will be when they carry their eggs. This is called moulting and can last up to 6 months. Female lobster have very little interaction with their young. Their eggs hatch during the night and are washed away. For safety the larvae bury themselves in the sand and only reappear when they are adults.

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