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Displaying items by tag: seals

#MarineWildlife - Following Friday's look back at the basking shark that surprised bathers off Cape Clear last summer, Independent.ie brings us this remarkable up-close video of the ocean giants returning to the Kerry coast for the warmer months.

The footage was captured near Dingle by sea kayaker Noel O'Leary, who said: "I’ve seen the odd minke whale, but to see a shark that's bigger than the kayak so close is quite amazing."

But it wasn't the only surprising sight around Ireland's coast as of late, as Her.ie reports on a 'surfing seal' in Dungarvan.

Apparently, the seal has become somewhat of a local celebrity after taking a liking to an abandoned surfboard at the mouth of the Colligan river.

Whether the cuddly sea dog is ready to take on the big waves of Mullaghmore remains to be seen!

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Courtown's seal sanctuary has been saved from closure after Dutch counterparts stepped in to help fill a key vacancy over maternity leave.

As the Wexford People reports, Sonja Ciccaglione has now been seconded as temporary manager of Seal Rescue Ireland's Wexford base.

And she joined the group's volunteers at the latest release of rehabilitated seals last weekend.

Luckily for the staff-strapped marine wildlife centre, it's a quiet period with only a couple of seals remain in residence – but donations from the public are always welcome.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Northern Ireland's Exploris aquarium has put out a call to Lisburn locals to help them track down a notorious resident seal who's become somewhat of a landlubber.

As Lisburn Today reports, Sammy – as the seal's been named on social media – has been a regular fixture in the Laganside town for a number of years, and has recently been spotted as far as seven miles inland.

Various reports have described the unique habits of this 'sealebrity' who's been spotted walking the towpath at Lisburn's civic centre towards Hill Street near the centre of town.

But until now staff at Exploris have been unable to get a hold of Sammy to check on the seal's condition.

“We would very much like to get a closer look at her," they said in a recent appeal. "If you see her please call us!”

Elsewhere, sea lions in California are having a tough time of it due to rising ocean temperatures in the Pacific.

And according to Salon, it's a situation that will only get worse when the effects of human-induced global warming take hold.

Some 1,800 stranded sea lion pups have been recorded on California's beaches in just the first two-and-a-half months of this year, many of them in an emaciated state.

Warming waters hostile to key fish species and micro-organisms have been blamed for this phenomenon, as the sea lions are forced to swim exhausting distances for sustenance.

The flight of fish to more suitable temperatures elsewhere is also having an impact on fishing communities up and down America's western seaboard.

But while the cause of the current 'hot spot' may be "a fluke of climate variability", for some experts it points to future trends in the world's largest ocean. Salon has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Cute by name, cute by nature: Sherkin, Buoy and Splash were returned to the wild after being nursed back to health by the volunteers at Seal Rescue Ireland.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the three young seals – rescued after tips from the public from locations in Cork and Kerry – were rehabilitated over the past three months at the new marine wildlife refuge in Courtown.

But they were finally fit to return to the open water last weekend at Fountainstown beach in Co Cork. The Irish Examiner has much more HERE.

As three return to Irish waters, another says adieu – as Clet the lone dolphin has now been spotted off the Dorset coast, according to the Bournemouth Echo.

Last spotted between Ireland and Scotland's west coast in December, the solitary cetacean first noted in French waters in 2008 appears to have completed a full loop around the island of Ireland.

Along the way he bypassed Dingle's famous resident Fungie and spent a few days in the company of fellow 'dolphina-non-grata' Sandy, also known as Dusty.

Now he's attracting the attention of locals at Portland, south of Weymouth, across the English Channel from his original splashing grounds.

Closer to home, conservationists in the the North West of England have released a video documenting the wealth of wildlife living in the Irish Sea as a reminder to political movers and shakers of the importance of its protection.

Groups such as the North West Wildlife Trusts have criticised Westminster for 'lack of ambition' over the past year since plans for a network of well over 100 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) were scaled back to just 27 approvals in November 2013.

More recently a further 23 MCZs were designated proposed, only two of which are out of out of seven proposals covering the waters between Britain's west coast and Ireland (updated Tuesday 17 March).

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Seaside visitors are being asked to look out for turtles washed up on the shore after a rare example of the world's smallest sea turtle was discovered in Donegal over Christmas.

According to the Irish Independent, the body of the foot-long Kemp's ridley turtle – declared by National Geographic to be the most endangered sea turtle species on earth – was found on the rocks at popular surfing spot Rossnowlagh beach on Christmas Day.

It turned out to be one of four such turtles discovered in the British Isles in just the last few weeks – far from their usual, much warmer climes in the Gulf of Mexico.

And they're not the only marine wildlife to look out for, as photographer David Comerford tells TheJournal.ie about a stranded seal pup he found at the Sutton end of Bull Island last night.

The little seal "appeared to be in good health" though it has "a clear injury to one of its flippers". The Irish Seal Sanctuary has been notified and is co-ordinating a response with local vets.

Update: The Irish Times has video of the seal pup returning to the sea as the tide came in.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - After last week's good news of a seal pup rescue in Northern Ireland, on the other end of the island a number of similar rescue seals got a fresh start for the New Year.

The Gorey Guardian reports on the release of five seals - named Flotsam, Misty, Skipper, Marina and Ariel - by the Courtown Seal Rescue Centre from the Wexford town on 2 January.

The marine mammals in question were picked up from beaches along the east coast from Ballinesker to Rosslare in various states of injury and distress, and rehabilitated over a number of months.

In the case of Skipper in particular, it was cheering to see him return to the waves fighting fit months after he was discovered emaciated with propeller wounds.

The Gorey Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - A very lost seal has been rescued after it was found exhausted in a field some 30km from the Irish Sea in northern England yesterday (22 December).

Yahoo News! reports that the young male grey seal was spotted by a dogwalker in a muddy field at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside - and after some hours of attempts by rescuers, it was coaxed into a trailer and taken to a local wildlife hospital.

It's believed the young marine mammal swam up a tributary of the River Mersey from the Irish Sea on the trail of fish before getting hopelessly lost in the landlocked village north of Warrington.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Dublin People has a heartwarming story of kind Malahide locals looking out for a lone seal pup earlier this month.

The little one was found by swimmer David Tuite sitting alone on a rock at Low Rock near the north Co Dublin town, and "seemed totally relaxed and unbothered".

Nevertheless, Tuite got on the phone and was connected with Seal Rescue Ireland, who assured him that the juvenile was just fine - a useful reminder to people not to get too involved if they seen any marine wildlife they think might be in distress.

The Dublin People has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Seal pup deaths around the Isle of Man are at their highest level in six years, prompting concerns for the health of the marine mammals on the Irish Sea island, as BBC News reports.

"Particularly harsh" weather conditions battering the usually sheltered islet frequented by female seals rearing pups have been blamed for the "greatest number of mortalities" since surveys began, according to the Manx Wildlife Trust.

And it's feared that the coming weeks will being more sad news for seal pups on the Calf of Man. BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) has lambasted "uninformed calls" for a seal cull along the west coast after a TV report on the loss of fishermen's catch in the Blasket Islands.

The sanctuary's founder and director spoke out after the report on the story by RTÉ News, which follows renewed calls by Kerry South TD Michael Healy-Rae to control protected seal populations in the interest of fishermen's livelihoods.

In a statement, Brendan Price said the ISS was "appalled at the report" on last night's Six One News in which RTÉ was "taken to a hotspot to fish by dated, passive gear [gill nets, which are] unsustainable and extremely damaging, just like drift nets of old."

Price also dismissed claims that seals are taking as much as 60 per cent of the available catch, saying the actual figure is "more like one per cent" of the national catch.

"[Some fishermen] may lose 60 per cent of their catch", Price agreed. But he claimed the real reason for this loss was "fishing by unsustainable method, up under the noses of the seals."

In calling for "balance in this debate" and expressing his group's availability for participation, Price also urged for fairness to the plight of west coast fishing communities, to which he says the ISS has "repeatedly offered help and solutions and is active in their support".

"[Let's] argue for fairer share of national catch, investment, grants, etc for them," he said. "But let's be honest also in stating figures and what they represent and not go shooting the messenger, the relatively harmless seal."

However, while criticising RTÉ's handling of the story, Price went out of his way to acknowledge "the professionalism of the reporter Seán Mac an tSíthigh, with whom I did speak" after the report aired.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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