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Whale and Dolphin Strandings Reach 'Record High' Says IWDG

18th October 2013
Whale and Dolphin Strandings Reach 'Record High' Says IWDG

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has expressed its dismay at the continued rise in whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings around Ireland in 2013.

"The question was whether the numbers for 2012 were just a temporary ‘blip’ in the trend and would the figures for Ireland return to a more ‘normal’ 145 or so for 2013," writes IWDG strandings officer Mick O'Connell on the group's website.

"Well, as we head towards the start of winter, we can see that the answer is a most definite ‘no’."

O'Connell explains that by the end of the first week of October this year, the group had received validated reports for 175 cetacean stranding incidents - matching the total for the 12 months of 2012.

"With a good few weeks left until the years end, it’s likely that for the first time ever, the strandings database will receive 200-plus cetacean stranding records," he writes, adding that there is as yet "no explanation as to the cause or causes for the significant increase in figures" - though it's so far clear that the biggest increase is among common dolphins.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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