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Legal Protection Should Be Sought for Basking Shark Says Whale & Dolphin Group's Dr Simon Berrow (Podcast)

28th April 2021
The first sightings of what are known as 'Liadhán chor gréine' or the 'Great Fish of the Sun' have been reported to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group
Basking Sharks in Donegal waters - The first sightings of what are known as 'Liadhán chor gréine' or the 'Great Fish of the Sun' have been reported to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group this year Credit: Simon Berrow/IWDG

Basking sharks should be given legal protection under the Irish Wildlife Act, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's Chief Executive says.

They are protected in the UK, including Northern Ireland and around the isle of Man.

Protection within 12 nautical miles by being listed on the Fifth Schedule of the Wildlife Act would assist in ensuring "these wonderful animals from the deep are protected in Irish coastal waters to ensure they continue to visit our waters for generations to come," says Dr. Simon Berrow, speaking on the radio programme and Podcast, Maritime Ireland Radio Show.

The first sightings of what are known as 'Liadhán chor gréine' or the 'Great Fish of the Sun' have been reported to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group this year.

And as Afloat reports two Basking Sharks have been washed up on the West Cork Coast within days. 

The IWDG runs the basking shark sighting scheme on behalf of the Irish Basking Shark Group (IBSG) which has also called for the protection of the species.

Listen to Dr Simon Berrow below

Published in Sharks, Marine Wildlife
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the radio programme Maritime Ireland on radio stations around Ireland.

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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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