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Marine Wildlife
Diver video is recorded to monitor the seagrass condition around the entire circumference of new eco-friendly moorings on Strangford Lough
At the end of March, the Strangford and Lecale Partnership started a new pilot study of Advanced Mooring Systems in Strangford Lough. It is the first study of its kind in Northern Ireland, and these eco-friendly moorings will avoid or…
Historically, basking sharks were hunted along the West Coast of Ireland
The sighting of a big number of basking sharks off Hook Head is “an incredible start” to the 2022 basking shark season, according to the Irish Basking Shark Group. It is one of a number of sightings in the past…
File image of basking sharks feeding off Kilkee
More than 100 basking sharks were spotted in the waters off Hook Head in Co Wexford last week as their season for 2022 starts “with a bang”, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group reports. A member of the public,…
Humpback whale #HBIRL55 sighted off Kerry in 2015
Ahead of its broadcast this weekend, Newstalk previews A Sea of Sound, a new radio documentary that explores the impact of noise pollution on marine wildlife. Marine mammals such as dolphins and whales effectively ‘see’ through sound in the water.…
Image from a previous major coral bleaching event in the Great Barrier Reef in 2016
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has suffered what’s being described as a “widespread” bleaching event, as TheJournal.ie reports. Images captured from the air by the authority in charge of the Unesco World Heritage site reveal damage ranging from “minor…
The common dolphin spotted in the Liffey at Poolbeg on Saturday 12 March
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed the sighting of a common dolphin in the River Liffey at the weekend. According to TheJournal.ie, the marine mammal was spotted swimming near the Poolbeg power plant on Saturday morning (12…
Ireland’s water environment is in crisis. Water quality is declining and water pollution is rising at an unprecedented rate says the Environmental Network SWAN
The Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) has hit out at the Government’s draft plan for managing Ireland’s inland and coastal waters. The network of 25 environmental organisations says the River Basin Management Plan is “completely lacking in the strong ambition, measures…
The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) President brings down the gavel on the resolution
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has welcomed a decision by UN member states to develop a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution. “This is a key moment in the effort to eliminate plastic waste and pollution on a global scale,” MacArthur…
Basking sharks are extraordinary creatures and they’re facing increasing pressures from a range of sources, including disturbance
Basking sharks are to be given protection by the Government under the Wildlife Act, Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has announced. The move follows a long campaign by marine scientists, NGOs and school students for protection of Cetorhinus maximus the…
The remains of a female sperm whale found on Malin Head on Wednesday 16 February
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it’s clarified its opinion on recent whale strandings in Donegal, explaining that the evidence does not suggest an “unusual mortality event” or UME. It has been feared the strandings of two female…
Drones were used to capture overhead images of dolphins in the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation
Pregnancies in bottlenose dolphins can now be determined from images captured by drone, according to new research. As the Irish Examiner reports, marine scientists from University of Aberdeen and Duke University have flown drones over the Moray Firth Special Area…
A newly formed Irish environmental coalition says it is “demanding” a fifteen-fold increase in Ireland’s marine protected areas (MPAs). The Fair Seas campaign wants at least 10 per cent of Irish waters to be designated as “fully protected” by 2025,…
Ellen MacArthur’s foundation is committed to a circular economy as part of the approach to preventing millions of tonnes of plastic leaking into the environment
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Wildlife Fund have initiated a joint campaign calling for a legally binding UN treaty on plastic pollution. Successful solo long-distance sailor MacArthur, who formed her foundation after retiring from professional sailing in 2010, has…
A fin whale sighted off West Cork in 2019
The waters west of Ireland host one of the world’s “whale superhighways” which are under various threats from human activity according to leading conservation charity. And the WWF is now calling on the world’s governments to extend legal protections for…
The remains of a second sperm whale found washed up on Malin Head on Thursday 17 February
It’s feared that at least one whale stranded in Donegal in recent days may have died as a result of Russian military exercises in the North Atlantic. According to The Irish Sun, a marine wildlife expert investigating the stranding of…
Citizen Sea in Bangor Marina
Northern Ireland’s first boat-based environmental charity, Citizen Sea, will be presenting several events about the marine environment in Northern Ireland in Belfast from the 24th of February-10th March. Citizen Sea is a grassroots charity, empowering people to engage with and…

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!