The capture of the short-beaked garfish,Belone svetovidovi Collette & Parin 1970, off the Cornish coast is of particular interest in that it represents an easterly extension to the known range of this species in the eastern North Atlantic, and the first record in British waters.
In August 1990 seven garfish were angled, on mackerel bait, in Mount's Bay, Cornwall. The captor, Mr A.C. Cass, believing the garfish to be different from the common garfish,Belone belone (L.), sent the largest one to the laboratory of the Marine Biological Association for identification. The specimen was provisionally identified as the short-beaked garfish B. svetovidovi and later verified by one of us (A.W.). The other six specimens were not available for examination.
Garfish, sometimes called needlefishes, have elongated bodies. Both upper and lower jaws are long and beak-like, with sharp teeth. They are epipelagic, feeding near the surface and are often observed leaping and skittering over the surface of the water. Only two species are recorded in the genus Belone in the north-eastern Atlantic.Belone belone (including subspecies) is commonly found off the European Atlantic coast as far north as Trondheim, Norway. It is also found in the North Sea, the southern Baltic seas, the Mediterranean and Black Sea where it is commercially exploited (Collette & Parin, 1986).Belone svetovidovi has only recently been distinguished from B. belone, and consequently its abundance and distribution are less well known. It was first identified in northern European waters by Dorman (1984,1987) from southern Ireland.