Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: humpback whales

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) say that "the humpback whales so long a feature of summer in Cork and Kerry didn’t come this year; instead, they are far to the north, off Mayo, Sligo and Donegal, and reduced in numbers," says Dr Stephen Comerford, the IWDG Marine Policy Officer.

He refers to those as another example of the effects of climate change on the oceans and announces that the Group has produced a policy document on offshore renewable energy.

"It outlines our thinking and intention on this important topic. Our advice is dynamic and responds to new initiatives and developments, and we plan to update published policies in the coming months. Consultation by IWDG on ORE is ongoing and dynamic throughout the development.

"The world is suffering a climate crisis unique in human history with drought, wildfires, disrupted weather patterns and extremes of temperature on land and at sea. Ireland is fortunate not to endure 45-degree centigrade temperatures and hurricane-force winds, but our climate has been altered too. Erratic weather, increased storms and rainfall, changing growing seasons, and rising sea levels are affecting us profoundly. In the seas around us, fish stocks are behaving unpredictably, and changes may be catastrophic for ecosystem health and our food security.

"Unless we respond by transforming the way we generate the energy we need, both in Ireland and worldwide, then huge areas of the planet will become unliveable within the lifetimes of our children. Starvation and mass migration will be the inevitable results.

"We already have the tools to transition from fossil fuels in a just and sustainable way, and key to this in Ireland is offshore renewable energy (ORE). Ireland’s offshore waters have a unique and powerful wind resource which, as a nation, we must develop as soon as we can to help prevent the worst effects of climate change.

"The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group recognises the importance of offshore wind and equally understands that it must be developed to the highest environmental standards to prevent unintended damage to the marine ecosystem. ORE is coming to our offshore waters, and it is our job to ensure that all issues relating to cetaceans are fully taken into account. The IWDG consults with the wind farm companies and with government departments to advise on development to minimise impacts on whales, dolphins and porpoises and maximise potential advantages."

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

Join top yachting photographer Rick Tomlinson for a week-long adventure photographing orcas and humpback whales as they hunt for the herring in the fjords around Tromsø in Norway from 9-16 November.
 
The group will board the expedition yacht Qilak in Tromsø and explore the fjords close by, photographing the whales by day then anchoring each evening in remote coves away from all light pollution to hopefully see the northern lights.
 
This exclusive trip with the Cowes-based marine snapper is limited to just six guests, priced from €3,100 per person including full board.

For more information, get in touch Rick Tomlinson at [email protected].

Published in Marine Photo

Photos taken off the Azores in recent days show that a white humpback whale mother and calf may be among the marine wildlife species’ annual migration to the North Atlantic.

And that means whale watchers in Ireland may have a chance to see this rare occurrence this summer, if we’re lucky.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said on social media: “They were traveling northwest along the coastline of the island, but she was not certain whether they were heading south or north.

“In that case, we ask all whale watchers to keep their eyes (scopes, cameras) open for them.”

According to Whale Watch Azores, the adult albino humpback seems to be a well-travelled animal, matching a sighting 10 years ago off Svalbard in the far north of Norway – and may also be the same white whale that’s been spotted off Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

A new review of marine wildlife in British waters reveals that once-rarely seen humpback whales have rebounded in recent years.

Marine Industry News reports on the 2021 Marine Review from The Wildlife Trusts which notes that humpback whale numbers are recovering since bans on commercial hunting, with more than 75 sightings around Britain since 2019.

Other sightings of note in the last 12 months include two orcas seen off Penzance in Cornwall — the most southerly sighing in half a century — and a 10-strong pod of white-beaked dolphins spitted off Essex for the first time in over two decades.

Elsewhere, puffins have returned to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea after an absence of 30 years following a vermin control programme.

Wally the Arctic walrus’ adventures around the UK before his trail of destruction along Ireland’s South Coast made for some excitement last summer.

And the world’s largest skate, a juvenile flapper skate, was recorded in Northern Ireland as part of Ulster Wildlife’s Sea Deep programme — whose project officer Ronald Surgenor was awarded a marine conversation award in late 2020.

But concerns remain regarding a series of cetacean and marine mammal strandings around Britain’s coasts, with noise from wind farms and unsustainable fishing practices put under the spotlight.

The Wildlife Trusts website has more on the review HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

A humpback whale regularly spotted in Ireland’s South West has been traced to Norwegian waters in the first confirmed link between our two countries, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Researchers and citizen scientists in the Happywhale collective made the discovery last week as they matched images of #HBIRL43 — first recorded in Ireland in 2015 — with a whale sighted in the waters of the High Arctic in the vicinity of the Svalbard arcipelago.

“This is our first international re-sighting of this individual who was the first humpback recorded this season off the Stag Rocks in West Cork,” IWDG sightings officer Pádraig Whooley says.

“We documented it this spring/summer on four occasions between 27 April and 6 June. This match suggests it travelled a minimum distance of 3,800km over a period of 75 days, a daily average of 50km.

File image of HBIRL43 sighted off off Toe Head in West Cork | Credit: Dan LetticeFile image of HBIRL43 sighted off off Toe Head in West Cork | Credit: Dan Lettice

“This sighting puts it circa 900km further north of the last known position of #HBIRL07 and is our only humpback to be recorded in what we’d term the High Arctic.”

It wasn’t the only remarkable news this week, as Whooley confirms that another Norwegian whale, #NA09849 — which has been sighted regularly off Tromso and Iceland over the last decade — was photographed this past June some 500km west of the Aran Islands.

“We’ve decided that, as this animal was so far offshore and well outside the Irish EEZ in international waters, for now anyway we’d keep it off the Irish catalogue,” he says.

“But it’s another important link to Norway and who knows just how useful these offshore encounters may prove to be in years to come as IWDG continue to unravel the mystery of this most iconic of our whales.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says last Sunday 29 August will stand out as “particularly memorable” for sightings of humpback whales, with the marine wildlife giants spotted at four separate locations.

At Slea Head in Co Kerry, Jimmy Flannery of Dingle Sea Safari and Nick Massett located and identified #HBIRL107 just south of Crow Rock.

Shortly afterwards, Eoin Delaney was sea kayaking off Carraroe in Connemara when he happened upon a humpback feeding in among common dolphins.

“While we can’t get a positive ID on this individual, any humpback sighting record from Galway Bay is an important event,” IWDG sightings officer Pádraig Whooley says.

Map of humpback whale sightings off Ireland on Sunday 29 AugustMap of humpback whale sightings off Ireland on Sunday 29 August | Credit: IWDG

Later on Sunday afternoon, Colin Barnes of Cork Whale Watch was on his second trip of the day when he photographed a third humpback breaching close to the cliffs at Scullane Point. This turned to be a new humpback not previously recorded in any Irish waters, and it has been allocated the ID #HBIRL113.

Slightly further away, a pelagic birding voyage off the Isles of Scilly crossed paths with #HBIRL77, a humpback that’s been documented in Ireland’s West and South West coastal waters every year since it was first recorded in 2016 — most recently off the Blaskets in June.

“These encounters and re-sightings are important, as they help IWDG build a more complete picture that reveals how these humpbacks are using Irish and adjacent waters,” Whooley says.

The sightings officer also appealed for anyone “fortunate enough to have an encounter with this most charismatic of our whales” to get in touch with [email protected] with a photograph of the ventral surface of their tail fluke, which is the most effective way for the IWDG to confirm identity.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

A Cape Cod lobster diver said he feared for his life after getting caught in the mouth of a humpback whale, as the Associated Press reports.

Fifty-six-year-old Michael Packard said he was some 14 metres below the service off Provincetown, on the northern tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, on Friday 11 June when “all of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark”.

Packard believes he was trapped in the jaws of the marine wildlife giant for around half a minute before it surfaced and spat him out.

The Associated Press has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it has confirmed its first humpback whale match between Ireland’s waters and the Canary Islands.

Images of a fluke and dorsal fin captured by Alex Brenner at Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera were, with the help of Nick Massett, compared with those of a humpback photographed by IWDG member Simon Duggan at Baltimore in early December 2012.

“On matching the images we can confirm that this is indeed the same individual #HBIRL21, whom we’ve not recorded in Irish waters over the interim nine years,” the IWDG says.

The development marks an important new connection between Ireland and the Spanish island chain off north-west Africa, following earlier links confirmed with key humpback whale breeding grounds off Cape Verde further south.

Published in Marine Wildlife

West Cork is enjoying a veritable bounty of whale sightings “in dolphin numbers”, as the Southern Star reports.

Video recorded last week near Union Hall shows two humpbacks who followed a whale watching vessel “in a very sociable mood”, according to Cork Whale Watch’s Colin Barnes.

He descried it as the best marine wildlife sighting of its kind in the last two decades — a sentiment echoed by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s Padraig Whooley.

Noting a recent report of as many as 100 minke whales spotted on a single boat trip, Whooley said the whale activity off the South Coast at present is “exceptional on a global scale”.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in West Cork

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has warned the public to stay away from the final resting place of a humpback whale carcass that washed ashore in West Cork last month.

And according to the Southern Star, poor weather forecast for later this week has dampened hopes to potentially retrieve the marine wildlife remains for public display.

The carcass of the juvenile humpback whale is only the ninth recorded stranding of the species in Ireland, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

First spotted in the waters of Roaringwater Bay, it eventually came to rest on the rocky shore at the foot of steep bank at Colla West near Schull, where IWDG volunteers have examined the remains over the weeks since.

Plans had been mooted to preserve the skeleton as a potential tourism draw for the area, the IWDG’s Pádraig Whooley said, though this would be “at great expense”.

“Although the plan was tentative, if successful, it would be a wonderful opportunity because the only other humpback whale on display is in the Natural History Museum, and that dates back to 1893,” he added.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in West Cork
Page 1 of 5

About Rosslare Europort

2021 sees Rosslare Europort hitting a new record with a total of 36 shipping services a week operating from the port making it one of the premier Irish ports serving the European Continent. Rosslare Europort is a gateway to Europe for the freight and tourist industries. It is strategically located on the sunny south-east coast of Ireland.

Rosslare is within a 90-minute driving radius of major Irish cities; Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Rosslare Europort is a RoRo, RoPax, offshore and bulk port with three RoRo berths with a two-tier linkspan, we also have a dedicated offshore bulk berth.

Exports in Rosslare Europort comprise mainly of fresh products, food, pharmaceuticals, steel, timber and building supplies. While imports are largely in the form of consumer goods such as clothes, furniture, food, trade vehicles, and electronics.

The entire Europort is bar-swept to 7.2 meters, allowing unrestricted access to vessels with draughts up to 6.5 metres. Rosslare Europort offers a comprehensive service including mooring, stevedoring and passenger-car check-in for RoRo shipping lines. It also provides facilities for offshore, dry bulk and general cargo.

The port currently has twice-daily round services to the UK and direct services to the continent each day. Rosslare Europort has a fleet of Tugmasters service, fork-lift trucks, tractors and other handling equipment to cater for non-standard RoRo freight.