The giant goby is the largest species of goby to be found in UK waters growing to a whopping 27cm maximum length. Few people have heard of this elusive species which dwarfs all other gobies, but its UK stronghold is in Cornwall and South Devon, with increasing numbers of records being made each year. This discovery, the first for Looe Island, further highlights the amazing marine life found in Cornwall’s only Marine Nature Reserve.
Giant gobies are warm water marine fish which range from the Mediterranean, along the Atlantic coasts of Spain and France and north as far as the South West of England. It is possible that we may witness an extension north of this species’ range due to climate change in coming years so it is particularly important to survey them.
Giant gobies are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside act 1981 so it is illegal to disturb them without a Natural England Licence. Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer for Cornwall Wildlife is the proud holder of a licence to humanely capture and study this species.
Matt Slater said,
“We have carried out surveys in lot of locations around Cornwall and I am starting to be pretty good at thinking like a goby and predicting where they are likely to be, but it is still a real thrill to discover a new population of them in a new site!”
Giant gobies have never been recorded before on Looe Island as far as we are aware. In one pool two small giant gobies were found and in another pool, one giant was discovered measuring 23cm (9 inches) in length.