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Marine Wildlife
Plastic pollution is affecting marine life in even the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has warned there will be more plastic waste in our oceans than fish by 2050, according to a UN report. The Ireland South MEP gave the stark warning as she addressed the European Parliament…
'Ireland’s Deep Atlantic' the first of a new series begins tomorrow, Sunday, 22nd April at 9.30pm on RTÉ One
#MarineWildlife - Ireland's Deep Atlantic is a new documentary series that airs on RTÉ One this weekend. Ireland’s Deep Atlantic sees underwater cameraman Ken O’Sullivan embark on a series of voyages out into the open North Atlantic in search of…
The new humpback whale as spotted near Inchydoney on Saturday 31 March
#MarineWildlife - Amid a flurry of activity off the Bear Peninsula in West Cork last week was the discovery of a new humpback whale visitor to Irish waters. Using images captured by marine mammal observation officer Patrick Lyne near Inchydoney…
The departure this day last week of cargoship Burhou I in Wicklow Port, however take a closer look and spot the head of seemingly 'Sammy the Seal'. The grey seal due to food-related antics!... has become a local celebrity and beyond given coverage has gone 'viral' in recent years.
#CoastalNotes - During Afloat's visit to Wicklow Port this day last week, seemingly Sammy the Seal made a fleeting appearance when alongside a departing cargoship, writes Jehan Ashmore. The departure that afternoon of Burhou-I involved the curious 'Sammy' or a…
The two killer whales spotted by the IWDG’s Nick Massett in Dingle Bay on Monday 5 March
#MarineWildlife - Two killer whales spotted feeding off the Blasket Islands earlier this week have been identified as members of a unique pod from Scotland. “Killer whale sightings in any Irish waters are rare events, and they seem to be…
A juvenile basking shark, a species vulnerable to commercial trawling and gill netting
#MarineWildlife - Basking sharks, stingrays and seaweeds are among nearly 50 species of marine flora and fauna faced with extinction in Ireland’s waters, according to a new report from the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT). Protecting Our Ocean Wealth outlines the…
From March 1, as part of new animal protection reforms, it will be illegal for restaurants to throw live lobsters into the pot in Switzerland
Switzerland has banned the practice of boiling lobsters alive. From March 1, as part of new animal protection reforms, it will be illegal for restaurants to throw live lobsters into the pot. Only an electric shock or the ‘mechanical destruction’…
The BBC One television crew members joined scientists undertaking the WESPAS (Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic) Survey in July 2017
For the first time, a BBC One television crew joined a Marine Institute scientific survey, in search of seabirds and marine mammals in the offshore waters around Ireland and Scotland. Their voyage on the marine research vessel RV Celtic Explorer,…
The 435 Million Year–Old Fossil Starfish
A 435 million year old fossil starfish has been discovered in the Maam Valley in Galway. It is described in the latest issue of The Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, published by the Royal Irish Academy, writes Tom MacSweeney. The…
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group receives €3,000 from the DAFM towards its cetacean conservation efforts
#MarineWildlife - Four marine wildlife organisations will share in €2.56 million in funding for animal welfare throughout the State, as announced yesterday by Marine Minister Michael Creed. Seal Rescue Ireland in Courtown, Co Wexford receives €12,000 for its efforts in…
The Government has given approval for a large-scale kelp harvesting project in Bantry Bay despite strong opposition from local residents. The above image is a scene across Bantry Bay to Caha Mountains from Goat's Pass.
#BantryBay - A final approval from the Government has been given for a contentious large-scale kelp harvesting project in Bantry Bay despite strong opposition from local residents. As the Green News.ie writes the license granted to Tralee-based biotechnology company BioAtlantis covers…
Training For Achill Islanders In Seal Rescue Protocol
#MarineWildlife - Islanders’ attempts to rescue a seal pup stranded on Achill in Co Mayo recently were sadly not successful. But the incident has galvanised a local group set up amid growing concerns over marine wildlife strandings, who will train…
Exploris in Portaferry is currently caring for a number of seal pups like this one
#MarineWildlife - Two common seals were released off the North Coast last week after being nursed back to health at the Exploris aquarium in Portaferry. According to The Irish News, the seals named Hans and Albert had been with the…
One of the beaked whales spotted breaching by the scientist crew on the RV Celtic Voyager earlier this month
#MarineWildlife - A team of scientists on board the RV Celtic Voyager got more than they bargained for during a recent survey to understand the habitat use of elusive beaked whales. That’s when they encountered four separate groups of breaching…
Staff at Wicklow town’s The Fishman use an umbrella to coax Sammy back into the river in February 2016
#MarineWildlife - Twitter user Derek Byrne was bemused by the sight of a large seal being chased from the door of a fishmonger’s as he drove through Wicklow town on Wednesday afternoon. But for the townsfolk, Sammy the Seal has…
Mum and Dad Short Tail Nurse Sharks wait for their babies to hatch at the National Sea Life Centre Bray.  It has taken four years for the male and female to breed.  The eggs from the rare sharks, now facing a dramatic decline in the wild,  can now be seen growing in their tank at Sea Life Bray and the pups are expected to hatch towards the end of the year.
It’s the Year of the Shark at Ireland’s Sea Life Centre where two Short Tail Nurse Sharks have bred for the first time. The eggs from the rare sharks, now facing a dramatic decline in the wild, can now be…

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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