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Irish Whale & Dolphin Group Follows Romance Beneath The Waves!

21st May 2018
IWDG's Celtic Mist with Fin Whale IWDG's Celtic Mist with Fin Whale Credit: IWDG/Nick Masset

Humpback whales are one of the most iconic animals on the planet, ambassadors for the world’s oceans. The image of a humpback whale, with its fluke lifted clear of the water became the symbol of the environmental movement when a recording of the “Song of the Humpback” in the 1970s was credited with “opening the minds of the public to their world,” where their acrobatic breaching is one of the most sought-after wildlife images for photographers and film-makers worldwide.

Beneath the waves, male humpbacks produce a complex cetacean melodic sound to attract females, which is heard regularly amongst whales as they communicate with each other off the Irish coastline, even if not heard by humans!

Humpback whales are coming to Irish waters in increasing numbers to feed along the South and West coasts. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has documented 87 individual humpback whales in Irish waters, recognised by unique markings on their tail flukes and over one-half of these whales have been recorded in more than one year showing that they are returning to Irish waters. Some have been re-sighted in 12 of the past 17 years!

"Humpback whales are coming to Irish waters in increasing numbers to feed along the South and West coasts"

It has tracked some of them to Iceland and just announced that its research vessel, Celtic Mist (the former yacht of Charles Haughey) is going to Iceland to further investigate those links. The vessel will also carry out another, rather courageous in Iceland assignment, as Dr.Simon Berrow, Chief Scientific Officer of Group has been telling me. That assignment is to challenge the Icelandic decision to resume hunting fin whales.

Listen to Dr.Berrow detail what Celtic Mist and its crew will be doing.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He presents the monthly programme Maritime Ireland on Podcast services and Irish radio stations.

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