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Displaying items by tag: Fungie

Dingle will host a special commemoration for Fungie the dolphin this month, as the Irish Independent reports.

Fungie took up residence in the Co Kerry harbour in 1983 and over the decades since formed the backbone of the town’s tourism-based economy.

But the bottlenose dolphin disappeared in mid October last year — and marine experts suggest he either died or relocated to waters where he’s yet to be traced.

One year on and a special commemoration day is planned in Dingle on Sunday 17 October to celebrate the dolphin who put the town on the map.

Free boat trips around the harbour entrance will be offered, with donations welcome to support Dingle Coast and Rescue and Mallow Search and Rescue.

“We want to celebrate the magic that Fungie brought to Dingle and to people from all over the world,” said local resident Jamie Flannery.

The Irish Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Dingle’s boatmen have been hit hard by the double whammy of pandemic restrictions on the tourism trade and the disappearance of Fungie last autumn.

But as the Business Post reports, the boatmen of the Kerry Gaeltacht town have directed their ire at the Government for what they believe is a failure to support their industry — such as the absence of a freeze on harbour fees.

Dingle Sea Safari owner Jimmy Flannery says: “It looks like, once again, when it comes to the marine sector, they don’t give a damn.”

The Business Post has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has said it is “irresponsible to raise peoples' hopes” that a dolphin spotted off West Cork in recent days might be Dingle’s missing resident bottlenose, Fungie.

Cork Beo reported on Sunday (11 April) on video recorded off the Old Head of Kinsale of a playful solitary dolphin which has sparked optimism that Fungie has reappeared some six months since he vanished from Dingle Harbour, his home since 1983.

But the IWDG has moved to play down such hopes, reminding that bottlenose dolphins like Fungie “are abundant and widespread throughout Irish coastal waters”.

It added: “While the IWDG are surprised at this individual’s behaviour around the boat it was recently filmed from, it is way too early to speculate that this dolphin is Fungie.

“The IWDG have validated 13 sightings of bottlenose dolphins off the Irish coast already this month (April) from Co Kerry to Co Louth.”

The group is awaiting clearer images of the dolphin’s tail fluke or dorsal fin before it makes any confirmed identification.

“The IWDG feel it is irresponsible to raise peoples’ hopes that this might indeed be Fungie, while current evidence merely shows it to be a bottlenose dolphin behaving in an unexpected fashion,” it said.

It’s not the first video of a frolicking dolphin to cause a stir in recent weeks, as footage captured in Galway Bay last month raised hopes that Fungie had relocated along the West Coast.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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A video circulating online of a dolphin frolicking in Galway Bay is “extremely unlikely” to be the missing bottlenose Fungie, as the Irish Examiner reports.

The footage sparked hopes that Dingle’s famous long-term marine wildlife resident had reappeared nearly five months after his last sighting in the Co Kerry town.

But Nic Slocum of Whale Watch West Cork said that while it was impossible to be “absolutely sure”, there were enough indications that it was not the same animal as Fungie, with a smaller body and shorter beak.

“They both jump, and they both jump in that way. And I know everybody got a little bit excited because they thought it might be Fungie showing himself again,” Slocum said.

“From my perspective, I would say that it is extremely unlikely to be Fungie and far more likely to be a short beak common dolphin.”

The Irish Examiner has more on the store HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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As hopes fade of Fungie’s return to Dingle, research suggests that “missing” dolphins are more likely to have migrated than died.

Dolphins in the Shannon estuary which were initially presumed to have perished had in fact moved to nearby bays, according to research published by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The study by Kim Ellen Ludwig of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) found that the “missing” dolphins had “emigrated” to Tralee and Brandon bays in Kerry, south of the Shannon estuary.

The Shannon estuary’s population of around 140 dolphins provided a good sample for the study, which Ms Ludwig conducted in collaboration with the IWDG.

The IWDG – a registered charity founded by Dr Simon Berrow in 1990 - has been monitoring the Shannon bottlenose dolphins since 1993. It constitutes the longest running whale or dolphin study in Ireland.

The group recently explored its 27-year old identification dataset to see if it could answer the question as to when to consider a dolphin as “dead” rather than missing.

Dolphins and whales are highly mobile, ranging thousands of kilometres.

Survival of young dolphins or calves is easier to monitor when they are dependent on their mothers for survival and is more difficult when calves are weaned.

The study with Ms Ludwig indicated that survival rate was 95.6% for “well-marked individual dolphins”- which means around 4.4% of adult dolphins die each year.

“For less well-marked individuals, survival increases to 5.8%, due to the higher chance a dolphin is “missed” during surveys,” it says.

The IWDG says that Ms Ludwig’s work highlights “a really important confounding factor, that of emigration outside the Shannon estuary to adjacent Tralee and Brandon bays”.

The dolphins had been presumed dead as these two bays are not routinely sampled during monitoring surveys.

Only by extending their surveys, did the IWDG realise that the dolphins were alive and well, and had extended their range.

Scientists with the IWDG are now recommending that the boundary of the lower river Shannon special area of conservation be extended to protect the important habitats of the bottlenose dolphins.

The group also suggests the area could be designated as a marine protected area as an alternative strategy.

In relation to Fungie, estimated to be 37 years old, the IWDG says that “as the time increases without a sighting and the search effort continues", it is "more likely" that he is dead rather than just simply missing.

However “his legacy will live on for years”, it says.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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“It’s better this way, rather than Fungie wash up dead on the shores of Dingle Bay, [that he] just disappear.”

That’s the message from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s (IWDG) chief executive as nearly two weeks have passed since Dingle’s longtime resident dolphin was last seen in the Co Kerry village.

Writing on the IWDG website, Dr Simon Berrow reminisces about his own encounters with the friendly bottlenose since his own arrival in the West of Ireland in 1988.

And he believes that Fungie has been an inspiration some of the millions who have witnessed him over the years to pursue further interests in marine matters.

But Dr Berrow is also brutally honest about the region’s over-reliance on the marine wildlife singleton as a draw for visitors.

“Building an international tourism product on a single dolphin was never going to last,” he says. “It was unsustainable.”

The IWDG website has more HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Everyone in Dingle - and beyond too, in a much wider world of shared joy in his existence - everyone knew that some day, it was going to happen. Some day, the sad but inevitable feeling was going to take hold and gradually be accepted that Fungie, the much–loved Dingle dolphin, has gone - and gone for good not just from Dingle, but from this world of ours.

For 37 years, his life-enchancing and charismatic presence has established a relationship between humans and a cetacean which has been seen elsewhere, but somehow never with the sheer intensity, transcendental delight and very Irish way that Fungi has made possible in Dingle Harbour. No-one who has ever experienced it will ever forget it. But now it may well be that memories are all we’ll have, and this new gem of reporting on RTE News from Sean Mac an tSithigh will speak from the heart for everyone who has met Fungie at his wonderful best.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Poor weather off the Kerry coast has put on hold the search for Fungie the dolphin who has been missing from his Dingle home for almost a week, according to the Guardian.

Yesterday, Sunday 18 October, RTÉ News reported that divers from Mallow Search and Rescue has joined the search to explore coves around Dingle Harbour amid growing concern for Fungie’s wellbeing.

The bottlenose dolphin has been resident in the village harbour since 1983, rarely straying far from its environs — and never for this length of time.

There was an unconfirmed report of a sighting last Thursday, as local fisherman Gary Hand suggested the marine wildlife favourite was feeding with other dolphins further out in Dingle Bay.

That’s one of the theories being shared by local boatmen — some of whom also suggest that the solitary Fungie may be in hiding from dolphin pods and whales encroaching on his usual inshore waters.

“There’s still hope,” said boatman Gary Brosnan. “If Fungie has died there’s a good chance we’d have found him in one of the inlets or caves. No news is good news.”

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Reports of the disappearance of Dingle’s resident dolphin Fungie this week appear to have been greatly exaggerated, as a cetacean matching his description was spotted by a local fisherman.

Paul Hand tells RTÉ News that he is “one thousand percent certain” the bottlenose dolphin that followed his boat into Dingle Bay yesterday (Thursday 15 October) was Fungie, who has made his home in the Co Kerry village since the early 1980s.

Fungie aroused some concern on Wednesday when he failed to appear as usual in the harbour, with unusual movements said to be “unlike him”.

But Hand suggests the dolphin has simply been following boats out into the bay and staying to feed and spend time with a pod of his own kind — following a lonely summer in the absence of the area’s usual tourist trade.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Dingle’s resident dolphin Fungie is one of the longest living solitary cetaceans in the world, according to a new report from wildlife experts.

The second edition of the Lone Rangers report identifies Fungie — who has been a fixture of Dingle in Co Kerry since 1984 — as the longest living solitary cetacean in European waters.

In the global list, Fungie is second only to Jojo, a fellow bottlenose dolphin of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies who has been dated back to 1980.

“Fungie is a very engaging dolphin who has become an international phenomenon with people travelling from near and far just to catch a sight of this enigmatic marine mammal”, said Marine Connection director Margaux Dodds, a co-author of the report.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under
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Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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