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Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has also called for a scientific study of species including sprat stocks
The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has called on Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for Biodiversity Pippa Hackett to “act swiftly” over a High Court decision that overturns a ban on fishing by vessels over 18 metres…
Brent Geese arriving on Strangford Lough
Strangford Lough is world-famous as the main arrival site for most of the migrating Canadian population (up to 80%) of pale-bellied Brent geese. Every autumn thousands of these birds leave their breeding grounds in eastern Canada and travel to Ireland…
Kenmare Bay in Co Kerry
A new report from the Irish Wildlife Trust says some of this country’s protected marine zones are suffering from “serious deterioration, and in some cases outright destruction”. And according to The Irish Times, the situation is grave enough for the…
Galaxy and Altair are two seals currently in the care of Seal Rescue Ireland in Courtown
Volunteers with Seal Rescue Ireland walked 117km — a kilometre for every seal the charity rescued last year — to raise much needed funds for their efforts last month. As the Gorey Guardian reports, the ‘Seal Stride’ challenge took the…
The Clyde naval base at Faslane in Loch Gare
Three northern bottlenose whales were the subject of special rescue operation in Western Scotland yesterday (Thursday 1 October) as boats worked to guide them out to sea ahead of a major military exercise. As the Guardian reports, rescue teams led…
File image of a common seal pup
Plans to allow for the culling of seals by fishermen with high-powered rifles have been branded as “insane” by a conservation expert. According to the Irish Examiner, the Government is looking into the granting of licences that would permit fishermen…
My word, what big teeth you've got….the orca is a barrel of laughs among friends, but at a full size of eight metres this is maybe the only species feared by the Great White Shark
Stories of whales attacking boats at sea and sometimes sinking them go back a long way in maritime history, and as often as not it has happened in such a sudden and frightening way that identifying the precise species has…
Cockles in an Irish supermarket
The Dubliners' ode to Irish shellfish in their song Molly Malone may have been relying on inaccurate information. New research by University College, Cork (UCC) scientists reports there is “inconsistent” data on the location of Irish cockles in previous studies. Cockles…
Lead researcher Emer Keaveney, Marine Mammal Ecologist, Ocean Research & Conservation Ireland
The waters off the south coast of Ireland have been selected as the study location for Ireland’s first real-time acoustic monitoring project of large whales, with the aim to relay warning alerts to maritime traffic to reduce the risk of…
Lots of treasures and oddities found on Grattan Beach in Galway by Padraic Creedon and Anna Quinn of Galway Atlantaquaria with Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Explorers Education Programme
The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme team has joined marine scientists, teachers and educators across Europe and North America to hit the beach to celebrate World Cleanup Day, which took place this year last Saturday 19 September. During the month…
Two killer whales spotted in Dingle Bay in March 2018
A surfer from Northern Ireland got more than he bargained for when he was chased by a pod of killer whales off Donegal last week. As the News Letter reports, Derry man Ryan Vail was catching waves off Culdaff on…
File image of freshwater pearl mussels
A new joint initiative between the Marine Institute and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) aims to revitalise the freshwater pearl mussel through a pilot captive breeding programme. Pearl mussels are capable of surviving for up to 140 years,…
Small-clawed Asian otters at the Exploris aquarium in Portaferry
Portaferry’s Exploris aquarium may soon face competition from a £12 million competitor in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter — and a battle for its own future, as the News Letter reports. Belfast City councillors on the planning committee gave their approval for…
Irish Basking Shark Group drone cameras caught the rarely seen phenomenon off West Clare in mid August
Remarkable video of basking sharks engaging in what’s believed to be courtship behaviour has been captured by drone off Co Clare. As RTÉ News reports, members of the Irish Basking Shark Group (IBSG) shot the footage of nine sharks swimming…
The fin whale seen in Donegal Bay on 8 August
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has conformed the first validated sighting of a fin whale off Co Donegal. Liz Morrow captured images of the solo large whale in Donegal Bay off Slieve League earlier this month, estimating it to…
Two of the bottlenose whales that died in the mass stranding on Rossnowlagh Beach earlier this month
It has emerged that the deadly mass stranding of bottlenose whales in Donegal was preceded by two live strandings in the Faroe Islands two days prior. And it’s led experts at the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) to suggest…

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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