Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Young people from across Northern Ireland showcased their "green-minded" projects to a panel of judges at the 'Dragon's Den' style ECO-Den event at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre last week.
All were hoping that their project would be the one chosen to attend the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards at the Mansion House in Dublin next month, as the Tyrone Times reports.
Among those pitching to the panel of experts were students from Holy Trinity College in Cookstown with their project, Fighting for the Environment, for which they teamed up with the Northern Ireland Marine Task Force Schools Project to help protect local marine life.
It's not the first time that the Northern Ireland Marine Task Force has joined forces with the North's young people, as last summer it supported hundreds of schoolchildren in their Stormon protest calling for new laws to protect Northern Ireland's coastal waters.
More recently, the task force brought together interests from across the spectrum to discuss the new Marine Bill and ensure it will "deliver for all sea users".
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The famous dolphins of Cardigan Bay have been found to cross the Irish Sea to spend their winter holidays in the Isle of Man, WalesOnline reports.
New evidence uncovered by researchers at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) confirms that dolphins from the New Quay area on the Welsh coastline have been photographed over the winter hundreds of miles north by conservationists in Douglas.
As many as eight vacationing cetaceans have been identified by matching markings on their dorsal fins, with one being a regular visitor since 2005.
“We’re really excited about this because it confirms how far the Cardigan Bay dolphins roam in the winter months when we see fewer of them at New Quay – knowledge we need to have if we’re to protect them successfully," said CBMWC science officer Sarah Perry.
Cardigan Bay is home to Europe’s largest population of bottlenose dolphins and is one of the last remaining places in the UK where the species thrives.
WalesOnline has more on the story HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Researchers with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) have arrived in Cape Verde to continue their studies on the North Atlantic humpback whale.
In what is the fourth expedition by the IWDG to the islands off the west coast of Africa, Conor Ryan and Darren Craig will be collecting biopsy samples to study the whale's genetics and analyse for persistant organic pollutants in their habitat. They will also be recording whale song and collecting photo ID images.
According to the IMDG: "All these techniques are helping us to build up a picture of how isolated this population is, about the geographic range of these whales, and how large the population is."
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed a new humpback whale sighting, this time in Northern Ireland.
According to the IWDG, this is the third consecutive year that a humpback whale has been spotted in Northern Irish waters, with this sighting being only the fourth ever validated record for the species in the North.
IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley described it as "an important development [that] highlights a trend towards increased sightings of this large baleen whale species in Irish waters."
He also remarked on the "unusual" location of the sighting in the fast-running waters of the Strangford Narrows at the Ards Peninsula.
The discovery comes just a week after confirmed sighting of two humpback whales at the opposite end of the island of Ireland, off Galley Head in West Cork, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Fungie the dolphin has been a mainstay of Dingle harbour for almost 30 years, but boat trips to visit him could cease to operate "with immediate effect" if charges of up to €9,000 are imposed "in advance" of the season.
Currently operators in the Dingle Boatmen's Association pay around €2,500 to use the harbour at the end of each season.
Association chairman Jimmy Flannery called on anyone working in tourism in Ireland to make submissions to the public consultation before the deadline next Friday 20 April.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, yacht owners are also up in arms over the new charges proposed by Marine Minister Simon Coveney that could see their rates hiked by an incredible 800 per cent.
And the news comes not long after fellow Kerry harbour users protested proposed new bylaws to regulate their activities and impose new charges.
According to This Is Cornwall, groups representing water users argue that marine protection plans "would have severe knock-on effects on those who rely on the south west's coastline for employment and leisure".
Alana Murphy of the Royal Yachting Association said: "A lot of the small inshore areas proposed as conservation zones coincide with estuaries and bays that are used by sailors for mooring, or for laying buoys for racing. We are concerned we could lose important sailing areas."
Companies involved in offshore renewable energy have voiced their concerns on the impact of marine reserved on their development, while the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations added that the scale of proposed fishing reserves was too great, and could potentially push commercial fishermen "to other areas which will then get overfished".
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's Wildlife Trusts have expressed dismay that plans to establish Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea and elsewhere have been shelved till at least next year after pressure from fishermen, boaters and other groups.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - This past weekend saw confirmation that two humpback whales have made an unseasonal visit to Irish waters.
As previously noted on Afloat.ie, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) had received reports of a sighting of the large cetaceans by birdwatchers off Galley Head in West Cork - an event described as "unusual" by sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.
But as the Irish Independent reports, those sightings have now been confirmed after IWDG members spotted the humpback pair near The Stags at Castlehaven harbour.
The team was able to get close enough to collect skin samples as well as photo identification, which confirmed that one of the duo is completely new to these waters.
Whooley commented: "Why these two young humpbacks are here during spring, when years of data shows them to be absent in these months, is a mystery."
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The mystery disappearance of an allegedly rare whale carcass from a Co Clare beach last week has been solved.
As The Irish Times reports, Clare County Council admitted yesterday that the "badly decomposed whale" was removed from Liscannor beach "due to public health concerns".
The vanishing of the creature had been a source of puzzlement to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), after scientists dispatched to examine the carcass found no trace on arrival.
Experts had been hoping to verify whether the carcass was indeed that of a narwhal, an Arctic cetacean renowned for its unicorn-like tusk.It would have been the first recorded sighting of a narwhal in Irish waters.
Max Halliday from Shannon, who reported the find to the IWDG, said he was "convinced that what I saw is a narwhal. It had the long tusk protruding from its head, but its head was badly damaged. I am absolutely mad that I didn't take a photo."
According to the Irish Independent, the IWDG had appealed to those responsible for removing the whale to get in touch so the remains could be transferred to the Natural History Museum.
But it has since emerged that the creature was taken to a rendering plant in Derry by a team contracted by the council.
A spokesperson for Clare County Council said no remains of a tusk were found in the removal operation.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - At least two humpback whales have been spotted by birdwatchers off Galley Head in West Cork, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
"This is the first time since the large whale project commenced in 1999 that humpback whales have been recorded along the Irish south or coast during April, which has been up till now the one month in which large whales have consistently been absent from our inshore waters," said IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.
The timing of this sighting was described by Whooley as "unusual". He also confirmed that one of the whales was recorded off Hook Head in Co Wexford in late January and early February of this year, which dispells the hypothesis that large whales leave Irish waters after the herring season in the southeast.
Meanwhile, Whooley sounded a word of caution for anyone hoping to spot the humpbacks for themselves, as the "sheer numbers of basking sharks about" often result in false sightings.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has more on the story, including images, HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - A meeting of the Northern Ireland Marine Task Force (NIMTF) last week brought together interests from across the spectrum to discuss the new Marine Bill and ensure it will "deliver for all sea users".
The workshop at Castle Espie on Strangford Lough last Thursday 22 March saw politicians sit down with environmentalists, fishermen and wind farm developers, and engage with those responsible for drafting the proposed legislation.
According to a statement from the Ulster Wildlife Trust, which is a member of the NIMTF, the bill "provides for the creation of a network of marine protected areas to protect marine wildlife" as well as a roadmap for a more joined-up approach to the North's marine resources.
NIMTF spokesperson Ricky Devlin said: "We now need to ensure that [the bill] addresses the full range of environmental, recreational and commercial interests such as fishing, diving, electricity generation and aquaculture."
A full report of the meeting will be available shortly from www.nimtf.org