The following is an article which was originally written back in March 2010.
One of the great pleasures of beach-combing is the possibility that something new and unexpected will appear on the high tide line. The same is true walking the mudflats at the edge of the Basin, and this month produced a very rare find.
Among the usual timber and floats there was a dead fish which was not immediately identified as any of the species which are found locally. Further enquiries revealed that it was an Atlantic Pomfret (Brama brama) also known as Ray’s Bream.
The Pomfret has an unusual appearance. The body is fairly flat and elliptical in outline and its mouth contains rows of small but very sharp teeth.
Within days of the find in the Basin, a number of others had been washed up on beaches in Angus and in Fife, and some worried residents had to be reassured that we were not experiencing an influx of piranhas.
Unlike piranhas, the Atlantic Pomfret is harmless to humans and is in fact a regular catch for Spanish fishing fleets in the Bay of Biscay and elsewhere on the Spanish Atlantic Coast.
It rarely appears on the fishmongers slab in Scotland but is a popular food in southern Europe and in South Asia.
It is known that some shoals migrate from the Atlantic into the North Sea, usually in late summer and autumn, but the reason for the recent finds on our beaches and elsewhere remains a mystery.
Perhaps shoals have been pursuing prey too close to the shore and have become disorientated, as they are a fish which in normal circumstances appears to prefer deep and relatively warm waters.