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Documentary Highlights Threat To Ireland’s ‘Invisible’ Marine Life

12th November 2019
Philip Boucher Hayes presents Hot Air: Ireland’s Climate Crisis tonight on RTÉ One Philip Boucher Hayes presents Hot Air: Ireland’s Climate Crisis tonight on RTÉ One Photo: RTÉ

Following last night’s stark warning for Irish coastal cities and towns, RTÉ’s On Climate season of TV programmes continues tonight (Tuesday 12 November) with a look at how climate change, pollution and overfishing have directly affected biodiversity around Ireland’s coasts.

Presented by Philip Boucher Hayes, Hot Air: Ireland’s Climate Crisis includes footage off the Kerry coast that shows how much that part of the Atlantic has been reduced from an area once teeming with life to a virtual desert.

As the Irish Examiner reports, one of the main culprits is change in ocean temperature and chemical composition as waters absorb increased levels of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Underwater wildlife guide and filmmaker Vinnie Hyland also explains how the “drop-off” in marine life has revealed an increase in plastic pollution that poses a growing threat to those species that remain.

He says: “The depressing part is what we are doing to the marine life and because it is underwater, it is invisible.”

Hot Air: Ireland’s Climate Crisis broadcasts tonight at 9.30pm on RTÉ One. The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

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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