Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: IWDG

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is running a series of land-based, guided whale watches in five counties around the island of Ireland this Saturday 21 May.  

Hosted in celebration of Biodiversity Week and to promote the biological recording of marine wildlife like cetaceans and basking sharks in Irish waters, these free events will be led by experienced IWDG personnel and local members who will be on hand to introduce you to the field skills involved in locating, identifying and recording the more frequently seen whale and dolphin species in Irish waters.

No pre-bookings necessary so you can just turn up on the morning with your optics, sense of adventure — and sense of humour!

Whale watches are taking place this Saturday morning in the following locations:

  • Loop Head, Co. Clare, meeting at Lighthouse, leader Mags Daly, tel 083 8401102, email: [email protected]
  • Dun na mBó, Mullett Peninsula, Co Mayo, leader Sean Pierce, tel 086 8368736, email: [email protected]
  • Rathlin Island, Co Antrim, meeting at West Lighthouse, leader Pádraig Whooley, tel 086 3850568, email: [email protected] 
  • Howth Head, Co Dublin, meeting at Balscadden Car Park, little shop (Howth Hub), leader Dave O’Connor, tel 087 6665049, email: [email protected]
  • Cloghna Head, West Cork, meeting at Galley Head View car park, leader Denis O’Regan, tel 083 3369775, email: [email protected]

All five whale watches will take place from 10am to noon so you should arrive at your local meeting point in good time (9.50am) to ensure you don’t miss the welcome, introduction and safety briefing. 

As whale watching requires reasonable weather, watch leaders reserve the right to cancel a local watch in the event of strong winds and/or rain, so our advice as always is to keep a close eye on the local weather forecast. If in any doubt, contact your local watch leader the day before your event (details below) to avoid a wasted journey.

You should dress appropriately for conditions on the day. The IWDG suggests warm and waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear if the forecast is marginal. If the weather is settled, then of course you should apply sunblock and wear a sun hat.

Also please remember to take away your rubbish, as these sites are both scenic and rich in biodiversity. It’s best to leave family pets at home.

Optics are important for land-based whale watching and at a minimum you should bring a pair of binoculars with which you’re familiar, and better again if you have a wildlife spotting scope. A camera with zoom lens is an optional extra, in case animals venture close to the shore.

Watch leaders will have some educational material to hand out and some will have whale artefacts of interest to show participants on the day. 

There will be some IWDG resources and field guides for sale for anyone who’d like to support our charities work and learn more about our recording schemes.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

A whale species never before recorded in Irish waters has been confirmed by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The marine wildlife specimen reported at Glengarriff in West Cork on 1 May — which live-stranded before it was found dead the following day — is that of a dwarf sperm whale, IWDG strandings officer Stephanie Levesque said.

Video footage received of the whale was shared with international experts “who confirmed that in their opinion it was a dwarf sperm whale due to its taller dorsal fin and smaller back”.

Levesque acknowledged concerns over the distress of the animal in the supplied video but said that “there is nothing [anyone] could have done as it was thrashing violently on slippery, seaweed covered rocks … It is extremely important to understand, if you see a stranded animal thrashing violently in this way, as difficult as it is to watch, you must keep your distance.”

The 2.25-metre female whale was with calf when it died, and a post-mortem by Drs Jim Donovan and Mercedes Gomez-Parada at the Cork Regional Vet Lab could not confirm the cause of death.

Examining the carcass of the dwarf sperm whale, a 2.5m pregnant female | Credit: Simon BerrowExamining the carcass of the dwarf sperm whale, a 2.25m pregnant female | Credit: Simon Berrow

“Prey remains, including squid beaks, were found in its stomach which was recovered together with the whole intestine for further analysis,” Levesque added. “The skeleton will be prepared by the IWDG and donated to the National Museum of Ireland (Natural History) to be preserved by the State.”

Meanwhile, genetic testing of a skin sample was performed by Dr Eileen Dillane, a geneticist at UCC’s School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who identified a 99% match with the genes of dwarf sperm whales from the Western North Atlantic.

The last known record of a dwarf sperm whale in this part of the world was a sighting off Cornwall in the UK in October 2011.

“Whether we might expect more strandings of this ‘warm water’ species in Ireland and the UK following the impacts of climate change remains to be seen, but it is very important to continue to report stranded cetaceans to the IWDG so we can monitor these trends into the future,” Levesque said.

This was the second animal to be examined under the new Deep-Diving and Rare Cetacean Investigation Programme (DDRIP) launched by the IWDG recently.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

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

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, Charlie O’Malley observed the massive congregation of the ocean’s second largest fish last Thursday (24 March) just six-to-eight miles southwest of Hook Head.

Not only were they great in number, but in size too — with O’Malley estimating many larger specimens of the marine wildlife giant of over 20ft in length.

“We have no reason to doubt the veracity of this report,” said IWDG sightings officer Pádraig Whooley. “Charlie hails from Achill Island and basking sharks are a species that run in his blood.”

Whooley said this “incredible kick-start” to the 2022 basking shark season follows a “good year” for sightings in 2021, with 161 validated by the IWDG — though the peak was between 2009 and 2011 when an average of more than 200 per annum were validated.

Sightings have also come in from Inis Mór in the Aran Islands and Baltimore in West Cork, and more are expected in the coming weeks — not least because these sharks have been in the news recently owing to their newly gained legal protection under the Wildlife Act, as reported on Afloat.ie.

Listen to to Tom MacSweeney's podcast with IWDG's Simon Berrow and also Charlie O’Malley here

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

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 March) before it headed out further into Dublin Bay.

IWDG sightings officer Padraig Whooley told TheJournal.ie: “This is only the second time IWDG has confirmed a sighting of a common dolphin in the Liffey system, so it is an unusual record.”

Previously a common dolphin wowed early morning city-goers when it swam up the Liffey as far as the Loopline Bridge in November 2018, as reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

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 sperm whales — at Maghery and on Malin Head respectively — were linked to Russian military exercises in the North Atlantic, as Afloat.ie reported last weekend.

But upon reviewing the data of marine wildlife strandings on the Irish coast between 15 and 21 February, including a female Cuvier’s beaked whale and a female long-finned pilot whale, the IWDG says that the incidents do not deviate from the expected annual stranding figures.

“Before any claims can be made calling this a UME or linking these current deaths to the military testing, additional evidence is needed,” IWDG strandings officer Stephanie Levesque said.

“We must wait to see if any further deep diving species wash up over the next few weeks as these numbers themselves currently are not out of the ordinary.”

However, Levesque added: “Two female sperm whales washed up at the same time is unexpected as most stranded sperm whales in Ireland are mature males.”

Meanwhile, it’s believed that “souvenir hunters” may be responsible for removing jaw bones from the two female whales washed ashore in Donegal.

Levesque told Donegal Live that such practice is common but it’s not known why.

“I don't know who does, but it is something that happens with sperm whales when they strand — the lower jaw is the first thing to go,” she said. “I don’t know if people think they are worth something.”

Donegal Live has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

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 a female whale at Maghery on Wednesday (16 February) said it appeared “deflated” and that its internal organs had “liquefied”.

Stephanie Levesque, a strandings officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), noted that it is not yet confirmed how recently the animal died but said: “We can’t rule anything out at this point.”

It’s understood that sperm whales, which can dive as much as 800 metres in search of food, can risk their lives by surfacing too fast when disturbed by sonar often employed by military vessels.

But disturbances caused by this week’s double whammy of Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice may have played a significant role.

A second sperm whale found at Malin Head on Thursday (17 February) was also deemed unusual.

Commenting on social media, the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) Ireland said: “What stood out was this animals teeth were very worn! Sperm [whales] are the largest toothed predator in the world.”

Before Russia agreed to move its planned military exercises out of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan warned that the activity could have “devastating consequences” for marine mammals in the area.

Such concerns prompted the IWDG to back the call from the fishing industry for a moratorium on any and all military exercises within the Irish EEZ.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it supports the call for a moratorium on military exercises within Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Both the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) and the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) have appealed for the Government to introduce a 10-year halt on any future manoeuvres within the area, according to The Skipper.

It follows Russia’s decision, as a “gesture of goodwill”, to relocate live-fire drills that had been planned for this week in international waters but within the Irish EEZ, some 240km off the Cork coast.

The outcome was hailed as a victory for diplomacy on the part of Ireland’s fishing industry, with the EU fisheries commissioner paying tribute at the weekend.

There had been fears of confrontation between Irish trawlers and Russian naval vessels in the Atlantic as long-standing fishing grounds on the continental shelf adjoin the area previously earmarked for the military exercises.

“I think the Russian have set a precedent now…that we need to bring in a 10-year moratorium to stop all military exercises in the Irish EEZ,” IFPEA chief executive Brendan Byrne told Highland Radio.

“We can’t bring in an outright ban [due to international law] but we have have the right…to bring in the moratorium based on the eco-sensitivity of the area, based on the biological importance of it to [the] sea fishery which is mackerel, in this case, or nephrops and the entire environmental argument, notwithstanding the displacement of fishing.”

The IWDG said it supports fishers’ right “to work without feeling threatened by military exercises” and that “additionally such a moratorium would also greatly reduce the threat these exercises pose to whales and dolphins”.

It added: “While on this occasion the Russian navy notified the State of their intentions, UK and NATO vessels regularly carry out naval exercises within the Irish EEZ.

“They have also been known to use active sonar within the Irish EEZ and such events have been linked to the mass mortality of deep-diving whale species in Irish waters, most recently in 2018 with an unusual mortality event of Cuvier’s beaked whales in Ireland and Scotland.

“Mass strandings and inshore sightings of northern bottlenose whales and Sowerby’s beaked whales, which occurred in 2020, may also have been linked to naval activity.”

In light of this, the IWDG is “proposing four additional Marine Protected Areas for deep-diving cetaceans along the slopes of the Rockall Canyon, Porcupine Seabight and Whittard Canyon System”.

The marine wildlife charity also expressed its fears that the Northeast Atlantic “has become a global hotspot” for beaked whale strandings, which appear to be increasing in both magnitude and frequency”.

It adds: “Given the vulnerability of beaked whales to underwater noise, supported by significant advances in our understanding of the impacts of military sonar on these animals, it appears ever more likely that military sonars used in or adjacent to important beaked whale habitats are a significant factor in these mortalities.”

Meanwhile, concerns remain among environmentalists for marine wildlife in the vicinity of wherever Russia moves its planned naval and air force drills.

Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today programme, Ken O’Sullivan, the documentary maker behind Ireland’s Deep Atlantic, said: “Exploding bombs in the ocean is never a good thing to do, for many reasons.”

RTÉ Radio 1 has the full interview HERE.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

Irish fishing crews are planning to peacefully disrupt the planned Russian military exercise off the Cork coast next month, as RTÉ News reports.

Patrick Murphy, chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, said he told an official at the Russian Embassy that Irish crews “will be fishing in our traditional fishing areas and if this has an impact on their exercise this would be considered a peaceful protest”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, concerns have been raised over the Russian missile tests that are being planned for international waters in the Atlantic some 240km off Co Cork but within Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland this morning (Tuesday 25 January), Murphy added that the waters in question represent “a very important ground where fish come to spawn” and among other concerns noted the risk to fishing gear posed by any submarines that might accompany the Russian fleet.

“We should be entitled to go fishing there, and if we’re fishing there then these boats, these warships shouldn’t be having war games,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney to express concern over the potential impact of the significant military exercise by the Russian navy and air force on marine wildlife in the area.

“Military exercises, especially the use of active sonar, are known to have a potentially huge impact on marine mammals, especially deep-diving species,” the group says.

“We are especially concerned as the slopes off the southwest including Goban Spur/Whittard Canyon are known to be important habitats for a range of deep-diving species” such as sperm whale, fin whales and Cuvier’s beaked whales, it adds.

Published in Naval Visits
Tagged under

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has appealed for the public to keep a look-out after a spate of marine wildlife strandings reported in recent days.

Half of the six reports were live strandings, the group says, but only one animal was successfully returned to the water.

In Galway, a common dolphin live stranded with serious injuries but died shortly after IWDG members arrived at the scene.

Another common dolphin live stranded at Mulranny in Co Mayo. Local woman Catherine Hanley, who reported the stranding, managed to refloat this dolphin with her group and it has not been seen since.

In Co Donegal, a “very emaciated” Cuvier’s beaked whale live stranded at Dooey Beach in Downings, on the Rosguill peninsula, but died shortly after.

An emaciated Cuvier’s beaked whale live stranded on Dooey Beach in Downings. The deep-ocean species has a significant population near Irish waters but is rarely sightedAn emaciated Cuvier’s beaked whale live stranded on Dooey Beach in Downings. The deep-ocean species has a significant population near Irish waters but is rarely sighted

Elsewhere, the remains of three more cetaceans were reported around the coast in recent days.

In Rathmullen, Co Donegal, the carcass of a common dolphin appears to match video of a dolphin swimming in the area the previous day, suggesting a live stranding.

At Greenore in Co Louth, at the mouth of Carlingford Lough, a common dolphin in “very fresh condition” was reported to the local IWDG group.

And in Passage East, Co Waterford, a carcass in “very poor” condition has been logged as “dolphin species” as its advanced state of composition made further identification impossible.

The IWDG appeals for the public to report all strandings “so we respond immediately and monitor the status of our whales and dolphins”.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 1 of 24

boot Düsseldorf, the International Boat Show

With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. Around 2,000 exhibitors present their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

boot Düsseldorf FAQs

boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair. Seventeen exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology.

The Fairground Düsseldorf. This massive Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre is strategically located between the River Rhine and the airport. It's about 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the city centre.

250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair.

The 2018 show was the golden jubilee of the show, so 2021 will be the 51st show.

Every year in January. In 2021 it will be 23-31 January.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Messeplatz 40474 Düsseldorf Tel: +49 211 4560-01 Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The Irish marine trade has witnessed increasing numbers of Irish attendees at boot over the last few years as the 17-Hall show becomes more and more dominant in the European market and direct flights from Dublin offer the possibility of day trips to the river Rhine venue.

Boats & Yachts Engines, Engine parts Yacht Equipment Watersports Services Canoes, Kayaks, Rowing Waterski, Wakeboard, Kneeboard & Skimboard Jetski + Equipment & Services Diving, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing & SUP Angling Maritime Art & Crafts Marinas & Watersports Infrastructure Beach Resorts Organisations, Authorities & Clubs

Over 1000 boats are on display.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating