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Marine Wildlife
Sailors Asked To Help Spot Migrating Puffins
I remember when I first saw the Puffin seabirds. It was my first time sailing along the Kerry coastline and it was off Portmagee, on the appropriately named Puffin Island. We had closed the small Island south of Valentia which…
The IWDG team use local authority diggers to examine the sperm whale remains on Streedagh Strand
#MarineWildlife - A team from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) was on site at Streedagh Strand in Sligo yesterday (Thursday 4 April) to investigate the third sperm whale stranding in a matter of days along Ireland’s West Coast.…
The female sperm whale beached at Streedagh Strand in Co Sligo
#MarineWildlife - A third sperm whale stranding on Ireland’s west coast within just a few days is now a cause for concern, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says. Following the discovery of two sperm whale carcasses on the same…
Appeal For Anglers To Become Citizen Scientists As Part Of National Salmon Scale Project
Anglers are needed as citizen scientists for a new National Salmon Scale Project, says Sean Canney TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector. Minister Canney said: “As we celebrate International Year of the Salmon, this project…
Rang 2 children from Scoil Shéamais Naofa in Bearna get up close with the skin of a tope shark
Children from Rang 2 at Scoil Shéamais Naofa in Bearna got up close and personal with sharks on the RV Celtic Explorer as part of the Marine Institute’s outreach and engagement programme. The pupils completed a project module on sharks…
Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine (left) talks to pilot farmers Padraig Connell, from Waterville and Colm Gavin from Leenane at the launch of the Pearl Mussel EIP Scheme at Glenbeg Lake, Ardgroom on the Bears Peninsula
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today launched a new €10m scheme to fund the conservation of the native freshwater pearl mussel. The launch took place in Ardgroom, Co. Cork and is the latest in…
The first strandings card, for a harbour porpoise on the Cork coast, dates from 13 February 1913
#MarineWildlife - The UK’s Natural History Museum has made available for the first time a vast trove of whale and dolphin stranding records in British and Irish waters. The data covers the years 1913 to 1989, filling in a significant…
Birds surround the sperm whale carcass spotted in the Atlantic some 100km west of Galway Bay on Monday
#MarineWildlife - The remains of two sperm whales have been spotted around Ireland in recent days. The first was sighted in the Atlantic Ocean some 100km west of the Aran Islands on Monday (25 March) by an Air Corps airman.…
Coypu are known for their large size compared to other river rodents
Waterways Ireland advises all users of sightings on the Royal Canal at Ashtown of a large invasive rodent species that is highly damaging to river, lake and canal banks. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the coypu — also known as the…
Whale & Dolphin Strandings In Cork This Week ‘Only A Percentage Of What Is Actually Dead At Sea’
#MarineWildlife - Unusual weather for this time of year may be responsible for a recent spate of whale and dolphin strandings on the Cork coast in the past week. The Irish Examiner reports that among the eight strandings were the…
Humpback whales fluking in Skalfandi Bay, Iceland
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is bringing stories from the Celtic Mist’s historic marine wildlife survey voyage around Iceland to libraries and other venues nationwide. Already the IWDG has visited 10 venues across eight counties in its ‘On…
Nimmo spotted on Monday 28 January with Mutton Island in the background
#MarineWildlife - Galway residents have a great opportunity to see a wild dolphin close to the city centre with the return of regular visitor to the Nimmo’s Pier area this week. Nicknamed Nimmo, the solitary bottlenose dolphin was first sighted…
Lophelia pertusa colonising a World War I cargo vessel wreck at 160m, as seen from the ROV Étáin
Shipwrecks off the Irish coast are acting as artificial reefs for corals usually found much deeper in the Atlantic. That’s according to NUI Galway ocean scientist Anthony Grehan, who told the Irish Examiner about his recent surprising find at the…
A Cuvier’s beaked whale surfacing in the Mediterranean, another region where they are considered vulnerable due to sonar activity
#MarineWildlife - Spanish researchers have identified a link between a ban on the use of sonar in waters around the Canary Islands 15 years ago and a reduction in whale strandings in the same region. The Independent reports on the…
Public Lecture On Marine Litter Tonight In Galway
‘Marine litter: are there solutions to this global environmental challenge?’ is the title of a free public lecture at 7pm tonight (Thursday 10 January) in the main concourse of GMIT’s main Galway campus. Prof Richard Thompson from the School of…
One of the new signs in place at Whitestrand at Miltown Malbay in West Clare
Permanent signage now in place at Spanish Point and Whitestrand Miltown Malbay beaches in west Clare hopes to rid the beaches of the scourge of plastic litter. The signs (not made of plastic) ask beachgoers to take away three pieces…

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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