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Marine Wildlife
The top right tile shows a Sentinel-2 satellite image of Clonakilty Bay from August 2020. The bottom left is the corresponding spatial extent (highlighted) of the algal bloom in the bay at low tide and the bottom right shows the corresponding biomass the amounts of algal material present in grams per metre squared.
European space satellite imagery could replace human monitoring as an effective “health check” of Ireland’s coastal environment, according to new research by NUI Galway scientists. As The Times Ireland edition reports, earth observation data sets recorded by European Space Agency…
A total of 54 Irish bird species (26%) are now on the “red list”, indicating the “highest status of concern” for their populations including the Puffin (above)
Birdwatch Ireland has warned the government and wind farm developers of the risk of “creating a biodiversity crisis” in its approach to renewable energy. As The Times Ireland reports today, Birdwatch Ireland's assistant head of advocacy Oonagh Duggan said the…
The IWDG is awaiting clearer footage of the dolphin spotted off West Cork in recent days before it can make any confirmation of its identity
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has said it is “irresponsible to raise peoples' hopes” that a dolphin spotted off West Cork in recent days might be Dingle’s missing resident bottlenose, Fungie. Cork Beo reported on Sunday (11 April)…
Trá Mór on the Rosguill Peninsula in northern Co Donegal
Visitors to a beach recently named among the 10 best in Ireland were shocked to discover the remains of three whales washed up on the strand, as the Irish Examiner reports. The three carcasses found on Trá Mór in Donegal…
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) across Europe
Over the last three years, researchers from 12 institutes across seven European countries (Norway, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain and Romania) investigated the impacts of ocean climate change on coastal marine ecosystems. The researchers, with expertise in climate change, social…
Plastic particles from the shores of Dhigurah island in the Maldives, home to a significant population of whale sharks
Next Tuesday 13 April the Cork Nature Network hosts a free talk in the impact of microplastics on the marine environment, and specifically on the largest fish in the sea. During this talk, Dr Alina Wieczorek will be presenting her…
One of the humpback whales spotted on the IWDG’s Iceland expedition in May 2018
Viewers in Ireland have another chance to catch a fascinating documentary on a unique expedition to the Arctic Circle tracing the origins of Ireland’s annual humpback whale visitors. Broadcast yesterday evening on RTÉ One, Ireland to Iceland - On the…
Wakame or Japanese kelp in Greystones Harbour in County Wicklow
Scientists from NUI Galway and Seasearch Ireland are asking divers and marina users to keep an eye out for Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp. This species was first recorded in Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland in 2012,…
Fourteen Humboldt Penguins from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man are settling well in their new home in Strangford Lough
Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry on Strangford Lough has welcomed new residents. Fourteen Humboldt Penguins from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man are settling well in their new home. Exploris illustrates and exhibits the large variety of animals…
The Arctic walrus resting on the South Pembrokeshire coast on Saturday 20 March
An exhausted Arctic walrus spotted at Valentia Island last weekend is now apparently in Wales and recovered from its ordeal. According to RTÉ News, marine wildlife conservation groups both here and in Wales are confident that the walrus sighted yesterday…
The juvenile humpback whale carcass photographed at Colla West on 24 February
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has warned the public to stay away from the final resting place of a humpback whale carcass that washed ashore in West Cork last month. And according to the Southern Star, poor weather…
A massive 2 tonne, 13ft buoy was dropped into the Celtic Sea off the coast of Baltimore, Co. Cork as part of Ireland’s first-ever real-time acoustic monitoring project of cetacean species (whales, dolphins and porpoise) to examine the impact rising ocean noise pollution has on Irish marine life. The buoy will spend the next 12 months recording whale species as part of the Smart Whale Sounds project carried out by Ocean Research & Conservation Association Ireland, supported by Rainforest Connection and Huawei Ireland through its TECH4ALL programme. Pictured is Dr Emer Keaveney, Marine Mammal Ecologist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association Ireland
Ireland’s first real-time acoustic monitoring project of cetacean species (whales, dolphins and porpoise) began this week off the South Coast of Ireland, with the goal of creating a near real-time detection model for these species and examining the impact rising…
Irish Whale & Dolphin Group to Provide Marine Mammal Observer on Upcoming Fisheries Surveys
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) won the tender to provide a marine mammal observer on three fisheries acoustic surveys with the Marine Institute this year. These include a survey for blue whiting this month, the Western European Shelf…
The exhausted Arctic walrus sighted at Valentia Island on Sunday 14 March
Some lucky passers-by were treated to the extraordinary sight of an Arctic walrus on rocks at Valentia Island in Co Kerry yesterday, Sunday 14 March. Video of the marine wildlife — which resembles a large seal but for its obvious…
The blue crab found on Dollymount Strand on 15 February
Beach walkers have been urged to keep a lookout for invasive blue crab after a recent sighting in Dublin Bay. As the Irish Examiner reports, the National Biodiversity Day Centre says a specimen was found on Dollymount Strand on 15…
Lambs’ Remains Found Dumped in Important River for Freshwater Mussels
Kerry County Council has launched an investigation after the remains of a number of dead lambs were found dumped in the River Blackwater, as RTÉ News reports. Around eight lamb carcasses were found in the river close to the R568…

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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