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Displaying items by tag: IWDG

New figures to be released this week point to a whopping 25% increase in whale and dolphin strandings in the UK and Ireland.
BBC News reports that data collected by the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) show reported strandings have risen by a quarter since records began 20 years ago.
The news comes just weeks after the shocking mass stranding of pilot whales in Co Donegal.
It's also reported that at least 500 dolphins, porpoises and whales have been found stranded on British beaches this year.
Commenting on the rising numbers, Ian Enlander of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) told BBC News: "It may be a sign that awareness of strandings is increasing, or perhaps something else is going on."
The BBC News website has more on the story HERE.

New figures to be released this week on marine animals point to a whopping 25% increase in whale and dolphin strandings in the UK and Ireland.

BBC News reports that data collected by the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) show reported strandings have risen by a quarter since records began 20 years ago.

The news comes just weeks after the shocking mass stranding of pilot whales in Co Donegal.

It's also reported that at least 500 dolphins, porpoises and whales have been found stranded on British beaches this year.

Commenting on the rising numbers, Ian Enlander of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) told BBC News: "It may be a sign that awareness of strandings is increasing, or perhaps something else is going on."

The BBC News website has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
A new pontoon intended to refloat beached whales and dolphins along the Atlantic seaboard was demonstrated at the weekend ahead of the Galway Science & Technology Festival.
The Irish Times reports that divers, scientists and local volunteers were among those participating in the training exercise on Gurteen beach, near Roundstone, which involved rescuing and refloating a dummy pilot whale.
Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) which ran the exercise said he hoped other coastal communities would follow the example with their own training sessions, given the growing number of strandings along Ireland's west coast.
The new pontoon - which was put on display in the festival exhibition at NUI Galway on Sunday - was purchased with funds raised by the local community and a BBC television team producing the latest series by popular adventurer Monty Halls.

A new pontoon intended to refloat marine animals such as beached whales and dolphins along the Atlantic seaboard was demonstrated at the weekend ahead of the Galway Science & Technology Festival.

The Irish Times reports that divers, scientists and local volunteers were among those participating in the training exercise on Gurteen beach, near Roundstone, which involved rescuing and refloating a dummy pilot whale.

Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) which ran the exercise said he hoped other coastal communities would follow the example with their own training sessions, given the growing number of strandings along Ireland's west coast.

The new pontoon - which was put on display in the festival exhibition at NUI Galway on Sunday - was purchased with funds raised by the local community and a BBC television team producing the latest series by popular adventurer Monty Halls.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is running a new course for marine wildlife tour operators in Galway on 27-28 November.

The two-day course - at the campus of the Galway-Mayo Institue of Technology in Letterfrack - is intended to promote and support responsible marine wildlife tourism, and may provide a basis for a future accreditation scheme for the industry.

The course will be delivered by Dr Simon Berrow and Conor Ryan of the IWDG and is part funded by the Irish Environmental Network under the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government's Biodiversity Fund 2010.

Topics covered in the course will include the identification and ecology of marine animals and sea birds, as well as the relevant legislation pertaining to the wildlife tourism industry.

The course fee is €50 per person. Further information is available from Simon Berrow at the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Merchants Quay, Kilrush, Co Clare at 086 8545450 or [email protected].

Published in Aquatic Tourism

Sonar activity by Royal Navy submarines may have caused the deaths of up to 35 pilot whales off the coast of Co Donegal at the weekend, an expert has claimed.

Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said that naval activity in the area is one possible cause of the tragedy.

"Naval exercises use a low frequency active sonar which is known to affect whales very badly," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "Basically it affects their sonar and causes a gas embolism, like the ‘bends’."

The Telegraph reports that tests are still being carried out to determine if the whales that beached on Rutland Island, near the fishing village of Burtonport, are the same as a group monitored in Scotland's outer Hebrides the previous weekend.

The pilot whales had reportedly been swimming off Co Donegal for the past week before they were found dead.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story (with photos) HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Plans to carry out a post-mortem examinations on thirty-five Pilot whales found dead on a beach in Co Donegal yesterday have been cancelled due to bad weather according to Dr. Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Up to thirty-five  Pilot whales were found dead on a beach in Co Donegal. The whales were discovered on Rutland Island near Burton port yesterday afternoon on a beach and have been confirmed as pilot whales, mostly mothers and calves.

A team from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology led by Dr Ian O'Connor and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group are planning to travel to record length, gender and obtain photographs to see if they can be matched to the recently observed Scottish animals. Skin samples and teeth will also be collected for genetics and life-history studies.

According to locals the whales had been seen feeding in the area around Aranmore Island since Tuesday. 

A group of around 30 pilot whales were monitored in South Uist in the outer Hebrides, Scotland last weekend for fear of their live-stranding. The IWDG believe it may be the same group.

Pilot whales have a tendency to strand themselves in large numbers and a similar incident occurred in Co Mayo a few years ago. In June Cape Verde islanders abandoned hope for the survival of 92 pilot whales that were found washed up in a mass beaching. In September in New Zealand at least 25 pilot whales died after beaching themselves in a north Wellington bay as rescuers battled to save almost 50 more stranded.

RTE News has pictures HERE

 

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has recorded two surprisingly large aggregations of minke whales off the southwest coast.

The group reports that regular observer Nick Massett counted a group of eight minke whales off Slea Head in Co Kerry, which is a high count for the area.

But fellow observer Parick Lyne trumped that number with his sighting of at least 16 minke whales at the entrance to Bantry Bay between Bere Island and Sheep Head.

The IWDG said it "can't recall such large numbers of mikle whales in a relatively small area".

The group speculates that an abundance of "whale food" in southwest coastal waters is attracting their attention.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Following the discovery of a dead dolphin in Youghal last week, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has called on locals to be watchful for marine mammals in distress.

The common dolphin was found washed up on Clay Castle beach last Wednesday 29 September. The species is a frequent visitor to Youghal, and has even been seen upstream in the river Blackwater.

If anyone in the Youghal area comes across a dead or live stranded dolphin, they are urged to contact their area IWDG members Paradig Wholley (Tel: 023 8838761) or Janet Howley (Tel: 086 3977160) or visit www.iwdg.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Renowned diver Monty Halls is set to present a public talk on his marine animal work filming whales, sharks and dolphins around the world tomorrow night (7 October).

Halls, who has been in Ireland since April making his latest documentary series for the BBC, has been assisting the Irish Whale and Dolphin group (IWDG) with its research on whales, dolphins and basking sharks in Irish waters.

The diver, filmmaker and former Royal Marine, who is also a popular motivational speaker and performance coach, will talk on his experiences filming and diving with marine mammals around the world, and will surely provide some great entertainment.

The talk, part of the Tales of the Whales Lecture Series organised by the IWDG and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), begins at 8pm on Thursday 7 October in Lecture Room 1000 at GMIT, Dublin Road, Galway. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) spotted killer whales off the coast of county Kerry during an offshore survey last weekend.  The killer whales crossed within two metres of the bow of the research vessel, others swam just beneath the surface keeping a parallel course with the surveyors.

The sighting of an adult pod is a rare encounter in Irish waters. 2010 has been a good year for killer whale sightings here with 14 validated records to date. 

IWDG surveyors were able to photograph the whales and have sent the findings to expert researchers  in the University of Aberdeen. It is understood these are new animals, not previously catalogued during the past few years of surveying killer whales in the North East Atlantic.

More on the sightings HERE.

 

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 20 of 20

Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th Blue Light service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

Introduction

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin
  • Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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