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Marine Wildlife
The rise in common dolphin strandings since 2011 is alarming wildlife enthusiasts
#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has expressed its dismay at another record year for cetacean standings around the Irish coast. The first eight months of 2017 alone have seen 201 recorded strandings - up 30% compared…
Harbour porpoise like this one in Denmark have been protected by a Special Area of Conservation across Dublin Bay since 2013
#MarineWildlife - This weekend Dublin Port is deploying data buoys in Dublin Bay to monitor marine wildlife activity during the controversial dredging works at Alexandra Basin. According to The Irish Times, the four boys will provide live data on any…
Rare Sight Of Large Minke Whale Pod In Irish Sea ‘Feeding Frenzy’
#MarineWildlife - An “extremely rare” pod of minke whales has been sighted in the Irish Sea off the Isle of Man this week. According to BBC News, the pod comprising as many as 20 minke whales was engaged in a…
On the left is Dublin Port's Alexandra Basin (under redevelopment to cater for larger and deeper draft cargoships). On the right is the adjacent Alexandra Basin East. It’s estimated there are around 300 porpoises in Dublin Bay.
#marinewildlife - Concerns have been voiced by campaigners about the safety of the Dublin Bay porpoise as Dublin Port commences dredging. The Journai.ie writes that the Dublin Port Company (DPC) plan to remove up to a million tonnes of material…
Marine Biologist Lucy Hunt from County Kerry
Kerry will have a dominant presence in this year’s Volvo Round the World Race. Three of the Kingdom’s notable maritime figures are involved and, with Olympian Annalise Murphy also sailing, there will be strong Irish interest, writes Tom MacSweeney. Biologist…
Clean Coasts: Big Beach Clean returns this year next weekend (15, 16 & 17 September) So get involved to remove "marine litter" from our seas and beaches (above Whiterock, Co. Dublin) and make a positive difference for marine wildlife.
#BigBeachClean - Clean Coasts Big Beach Clean returns this year when the event takes place next weekend (15-17 September). So there's still time to register your pariticpation to make a positive difference in helping the environment. Clean Coasts engages communities…
Seabird activity can tell sailors a lot
Seabirds and sailors have a long history together. They are reputed to have guided lost sailors to land, led fishermen to catch fish and the sight of them has encouraged many a despairing sailor to realise that land is nearby.…
Blue whales like this one will be among the subjects in the upcoming RTÉ series Ireland’s Deep Atlantic
#OnTV - Ireland’s Deep Atlantic is a new three-part TV documentary exploring the fascinating sights in the waters west of this island. The series will be broadcast as part of RTÉ’s recently announced autumn schedule, according to TheJournal.ie, and comprises…
Dead crayfish in the River Suir
#Crayfish - All water users are being urged to take precautions to stop the spread of crayfish plague after confirmation of an outbreak on the Lorrha River in North Tipperary, close to Lough Derg and the River Shannon. Numbers of…
Whale watchers at Galley Head in West Cork
#MarineWildlife - 2017’s All–Ireland Whale Watch Day is scheduled for Saturday 26 August between 2pm and 5pm as part of Heritage Week. Join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) at any of 20 land-based whale watches across Ireland to…
Chief scientist Ciaran O’Donnell, Marine Institute provides the BBC One Show film crew a briefing of the survey route planned for the WESPAS survey.
#marinescience - The Marine Institute recently led an acoustic survey of herring and boarfish in the oceans to the north, west and south of Ireland to determine the distribution, abundance, health and maturity of the herring and boarfish stocks in…
The bearded seal has allegedly taken up residence at the Timoleague estuary for the last two months
#MarineWildlife - Wildlife watchers have been baffled by the sighting of an Arctic seal in West Cork, as the Irish Examiner reports. Bearded seals, marked by their pale pelt and distinctive long whiskers, are usually found between the far north…
The deep sea coral Solenosmilia variabilis
#MarineScience - A team of scientists have discovered the deepest known occurrence of a cold water coral reef known as Solenosmilia variabilis in Irish waters. The marine scientists, led by the Marine Institute with the National Parks and Wildlife Service…
The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever existed on earth
#MarineWildlife - The skeleton of a blue whale beached on the Wexford coast in the late 19th century has now taken pride of place at London’s Natural History Museum. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the museum paid the equivalent of…
Marine Wildlife watching boats at Cape Clear Harbour
It may be just three miles long by one mile wide but there's heaps of maritime activity on Ireland’s southern most inhabited Gaeltacht island, Cape Clear.  Removed from the hustle and bustle of mainland life, Cape Clear offers relaxation, nature…
A giant squid preserved in ice at Melbourne Aquarium in Australia
#MarineWildlife - Once was exciting enough — but a Kerry trawler had landed a second giant squid in as many months, as RTÉ News reports. Local fisherman Pete Flannery landed what was the first giant squid recorded in Irish waters…

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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