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Coastwatch Appeals for Citizen Science Volunteers for Annual Shore Survey

24th September 2023
Coastwatch co-ordinator Karin Dubsky
Coastwatch co-ordinator Karin Dubsky

Coastwatch is appealing for citizen scientists to join its annual shore survey, which runs until mid-October.

Already, three volunteer surveyors have identified seagrass beds and meadows in counties Wexford, Dublin and Galway.

Some shorelines which had suffered plastic pollution after bad weather are also reportedly relatively cleaner or free of plastic, according to Coastwatch co-ordinator Karin Dubsky.

However, huge numbers of dying cockles have also been reported on Duncannon shore, Co Wexford, while carpets of green algae and sludge layers have been reported in parts of Dublin Bay and west Cork.

The survey involves volunteers from all walks of life who select 500 metres of shore as a survey unit.

The “eco-audit” of the selected area takes about an hour, during low tide, with friends or family.

“College and school groups, scouts and kayakers are also welcome to join,” Dubsky said.

“Weather permitting the survey effort will peak next weekend at the lowest tides,” she said.

All the required materials, except for water test kits, are on the Coastwatch website where survey sites can also be booked. Coastwatch regional co-ordinators can also help newcomers and groups, she says.

Details on participation involve the following steps, she says:

  • 1. Chose a 500m survey unit and book it online
  • 2. Read the survey form and guide notes and download ID posters for marine life.
  • 3. Join an online training or field work group session if you are new or would like to refresh. Next online session is Mon 25th Sept at 1800 hours.
  • 4. Check your shore around low tide and record your findings in photos/on survey form.
  • 5. Report back on new phone app, or computer input forms or by posting your results to us.

“We then collate and analyse data to share and discuss it in Trinity College Dublin on December 23rd,” she says.

“Coastwatchers are also invited to an international workshop to plan follow up action,” she says.

She says that Coastwatch is grateful to the Department of Housing marine unit for extra support this year.

A cross-border survey for Lough Foyle is planned for Sunday, Oct 1st.

More details are here Team

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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!