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Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt, in collaboration with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), is offering a special midsummer night cruise in the Shannon Estuary as a fundraiser for the IWDG.

The cruise will depart Castle Pier in Carrigaholt, Co Clare at 5pm on Saturday 30 June (weather permitting), returning around 10pm,

During the trip you will visit caves off North Kerry, sea stacks and headlands and the mighty Loop Head, including the giant sea stack known as Dermot and Grainne’s Rock (or Cuchalain’s Leap) and Black Rock with its fantastic seabird colonies.

Along the way you will also expect to see marine wildlife such as bottlenose dolphins, basking sharks - and possibly even a minke whale, if a recent coastal sighting is anything to go by.

Included in the cost is a vegetarian or seafood platter and wine onboard sponsored by The Long Dock in Carrigaholt, as well as live traditional music and a €10 voucher for fine art prints and books from Carsten Krieger Photography.

Tickets for the cruise are priced at €50 for IWDG members, €60 for non-members not wishing to take out membership and €70 for non-members including a one-year IWDG membership (normally €30).

Numbers on this adults-only cruise are limited to just 35 - so book early to avoid disappointment. To book your place call 087 9175984 or e-mail [email protected]

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Experts at the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) have been puzzled by a rare photo of a minke whale breaching in the Irish Sea, as the Larne Times reports.

Minke whales are a regular visitor to these shores, but are not known to breach in Irish waters.

But RIB skipper Peter Christian has convinced at least one knowledgeable colleague that the eight-metre whale he snapped breaching some eight or nine times while en route from the Isle of Man to Islandmagee is the real McCoy.

Peter Steele of boat owner North Irish Diver Ltd pointed to a distinctive white patch on its pectoral fin as proof.

“It is rare for minke whales to be caught breaching in these waters, as they are normally much more sedate,” he said.

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The recent horrific reports of seal killings are but part of a "swing in activity" over the past few months, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Gardaí continue to investigate the shocking incident in Dingle two weeks ago, where the heads of two baby seals were found nailed to signs outside a wildlife sanctuary - an act condemned by fishermen in spite of their support for a cull of seals along the West coast.

Just days later, a husband and wife kayaking at Knockadoon head in East Cork were "sickened to the core" by the sight of two seals who had been shot.

And last week the Dingle Seal and Wildlife Sanctuary received calls of two separate seal deaths around the coast, one reporting a headless seal discovered at Whiting Bay in Waterford.

The incidents follow fears from earier this year of an illegal cull of marine wildlife after a two seals were found dying from bullet wounds on Tramore Beach in Co Waterford.

“There has been a swing in activity in recent months,” said Johnny Woodlock of the Dingle Seal Sanctuary, who added that many of the seals found dead "have apparent gun shot wounds" though it is difficult to determine the cause of death without an autopsy.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) says it has not recorded any increase in illegal seal killings off Cork or Kerry. But Woodlock claims this is because "there is nobody keeping records of dead seals washing up on beaches".

An NPWS survey of coastal seal numbers is ongoing, and exact figures have yet to be published.

TheJournal.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MARINE WILDLIFE - There were some strange goings-on off Connemara last week as fishermen caught two very surprising marine wildlife finds, The Irish Times reports.

On the Aran Islands prawn grounds, skipper Colin Reynolds of the Fragrant Cloud caught an albino monkfish - the second to be landed in Rossaveal in recent years.

According to marine biologist Siubhán Ní Churraidhín, the near 2kg fish was larger than expected as the light pigmentation makes such creatures much more vulnerable to predators.

Meanwhile, the box crab was discovered by fisherman Michael O'Toole while crab and lobster potting off Inishboffin and taken to the Galway Atlantaquaria, though the delicate specimen did not last the night.

Such crabs are normally only found some 200m below the surface.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#MARINE WILDLIFE - RTÉ News reports that a Fine Gael councillor for Co Galway has called for a seal cull along the West coast.

Cllr Seosamh Ó Laoi told RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta that the increase in the seal population was to blame for the decline in inshore fish catches.

He also made reference to times years ago when fisherman had taken matters into their own hands and "kept the place clean" by carrying guns on their boats.

His remarks come barely a week after the heads of two baby seals were found nailed to signs outside a wildlife sanctuary in Dingle. Co Kerry.

As reported on Afloat.ie, local fishermen and industry representatives later spoke out to condemn the grisly incident.

Michael Flannery of the Irish Fish Producers' Organisation (IFPO) said: "Fishermen are calling for a seal cull but we want this carried out in an organised, approved and humane way."

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Fishermen have condemned the appalling killing of two baby seals whose heads were nailed to signs outside a wildlife sanctuary in Dingle last week.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, staff at the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary were subject to the "sickening" sight on Thursday morning, which was alleged to be connected to a campaign among local fishermen urging for a cull of seal numbers in the area.

However, as the Irish Independent reports, fishermen have spoken out to decry the grisly incident.

Michael Hennessy, skipper of the fishing vessel Realt na Mara, said: "This kind of thing is not going to do any good for any campaign, and fishermen would not lower themselves to do something like that."

Michael Flannery of the Irish Fish Producers' Organisation (IFPO) added: "Fishermen are calling for a seal cull but we want this carried out in an organised, approved and humane way."

According to the Irish Examiner, Sea Shepherd Ireland has added a €2,000 reward to the €5,000 offered by fellow animal rights group ARAN for anyone with information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the illegal seal killing.

Meanwhile, two grey seals pups currently being cared for at the Dingle sanctuary may be released earlier than expected due to fears for their security.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#TALL SHIPS - Celtic Mist - the yacht once owned by the late former Taoiseach Charles Haughey - will soon take to the waves in its new guise as a research vessel as its refit nears completion, today's Sunday Independent reports.

As reported last year on Afloat.ie, the 52-foot yacht was gifted by the Haughey family to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work.

After completing a leg of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland, the boat sailed to its new birth at Kilrush in Co Clare last July while the group raised the necessary funds to enter dry dock for refurbishments and refitting as a marine research vessel.

By January of this year the IWDG had reached 75% of the more than €60,000 required to complete the work, which involved stripping out the main cabin to increase space for equipment and crew berths.

"We are finishing off the renovations at the moment and we're hoping to have it back on the water in the next few weeks," said the IWDG's Simon Berrow. "We estimate it will cost around €80,000 by the time it is finished."

The refurbished yacht includes a fitting tribute to its previous owner in the form of a clock over his former cabin with a photo of Haughey in his skipper's cap on the background.

Berrow also hailed Haughey's love of the sea, which prompted his declaration of Irish waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary.

The IWDG will use the Celtic Mist to train and teach its members how to survey and record whales and dolphins. As well as research projects, it will be used for educating schoolchildren about marine conservation and the abundant life in Ireland's coastal waters.

It is also hoped that President Michael D Higgins - who became patron of the IWDG in February - will be on hand to officially launch the vessel this August.

The Sunday Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Tall Ships

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conor McGuire and friends were taken by surprise when they came across a stranded minke whale in Clew Bay, Co Mayo - but thankfully this whale of a tale had a happy outcome.

As the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports, the group of friends videoed the scene as the 4-5m young minke whale attempted to free itself from the shingle at the edge of the shore.

The IWDG commented: "Sometimes it is hard to avoid the temptation to jump in and get involved in coaxing the cetacean back into deeper water.

"But hats off to Conor and friends, who quite rightly gave the whale as much time as it needed to correct the situation."

According to the IWDG, such stranding often end in tragedy "as the animal becomes disorientated and stressed, so this record is particularly unusual."

The group also noted "with interest" that the event occurred just before the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the North West region.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the epicentre of the magnitude 4 quake was close to the Corrib Gas Field off Co Mayo.

The IWDG said it will be closely watching the region "to see if there is any spike in unusual stranding events that may be linked to this seismic activity".

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has called for the extension of Ireland's pioneering whale and dolphin sanctuary throughout European coastal waters.

As the Clare Herald reports, the move comes on the 21st anniversary of the declaration of Irish waters as a sanctuary for cetaceans by then Taoiseach Charles Haughey - whose family gifted his yacht Celtic Mist to the IWDG to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work.

"The sanctuary declaration was unique in Europe and no EU member state had made such an unequivocal statement about the importance of their waters for cetaceans," said the IWDG's Brendan Price.

The sanctuary extends up to 200 nautical miles offshore, covering the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone, and in the two decades since its founding has prompted a greater awareness of and interest in the whales and dolphins that populate Ireland's waters.

The declaration "led to a clearer understanding of the responsibility Ireland had to cetaceans and their habitat including in offshore waters," added Price. "The sanctuary declaration was a precursor to action leading to protection in Irish waters and thus the IWDG considers the sanctuary declaration a success."

Price went on to outline the IWDG's vision for extending this sanctuary throughout European waters.

"There are a number of small marine protected areas in Europe for cetaceans, including harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphins, and some international sanctuaries such as the Pelagos Sanctuary in the Mediterranean.

"These areas all have important roles to play but cetaceans are mobile marine species and travel large distances. Also, to gain public support for cetacean conservation it may require a larger, more simple concept."

The group intends to promote its proposals within the continent "and encourage like-minded people and organisations to lobby their own government to make such a clear and unequivocal statement on cetacean conservation".

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Staff at the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary were subject this morning to the gruesome sight of two baby seal heads nailed to signs outside the facility.

According to the Irish Independent, the grisly scene was accompanied by a sign reading 'RIP Cull' in red paint, presumed to be a reference to local fishermen's urging for a reduction of seal numbers in the area.

Last year Afloat.ie reported on Kerry fishermen's call for a cull of the "overprotected" local grey seal population over claims that they eat up to 10kg of fish a day.

And earlier this year, fears were growing of an illegal cull of marine wildlife after a two seals were found dying from bullet wounds on Tramore Beach in Co Waterford.

"It was sickening," said the sanctuary's Ally McMillan of the incident. "I wanted to be sick when I saw them."

Gardaí in Dingle removed the seal heads and sign as part of their investigation.

Meanwhile, the Irish Examiner reports that animal rights group ARAN has put up a €5,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the killing.

“Animal abusers are cowards, and we’re hoping this reward will apprehend those responsible for this most sickening act of animal abuse,” said ARAN spokesman Stephan Wymore.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 43 of 52

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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