Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife
Proposals to create more than 100 conservation zones to protect marine wildlife and plantlife in England and Wales have been unveiled.
BBC News reports that the proposals - covering waters around the English and Welsh coastlines, including parts of the Irish Sea - will be assessed by a panel of experts before a final decision by the British government, expected some time in 2012.
The Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) will have differing levels of protection, depending on what regulators choose to prohibit and when under the provisions of the 2009 UK Marine Bill. This is to allow flexibility for activities such as fishing and recreation.
Should all proposals be approved, it would place more than a quarter of all English waters under some form of protection.
It is also hoped that this is the first step towards a network of protected waters across the whole of the UK.
Proposals for protection zones in Scotland are expected to come forward next year. Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland legisative assembly has yet to pass its own marine protection laws.
BBC News has more on the story HERE.
Beachgoers in Wales have been urged to watch out for leatherback turtles who have come to the Irish Sea attracted by the rising numbers of jellyfish.
There have already been a dozen sightings of the endangered marine creatures off the UK coast this year, according to the Marine Conservation Society.
“There are so many jellyfish this year, with lots and lots of reports, particularly in the Irish Sea – it’s turtle heaven, there’s so much food for them,” said MSC biodiversity programme manager Dr Peter Richardson.
The society is hoping to identify any hotspots where they can run protective measures.
The leatherback turtle can grow up to 3m long as weigh as much as a tonne. They are often mistaken for floating logs, said Dr Richardson, but "once you see their large reptilian head, massive flippers and ridged leathery shell you can’t mistake them for anything else".
The Western Mail has more on the story HERE.
The wealth of marine wildlife inhabiting the shallow waters around the Irish coast is highlighted in a new book.
Ireland's Hidden Depths, published by Sherkin Island Marine Station, features photography by Paul Kay, who has studied the marine wildlife of West Cork for almost 30 years.
The book features more than 200 of his photographs, illustrating "a wealth of massively diverse and amazing marine life, glorious kelp forests and spectaucular underwater scenery."
Matt Murphy, director of Sherkin Island Marine Station, said that he hopes the book will give readers "a new perspective on the sea and encourage a sustained interest in its wonder and potential".
The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.
In addition to cruising this stretch of the River Liffey alongside the 'Docklands' quarter, the tour RIB boat will pass downriver through the East-Link toll bridge where visitors will get closer views of the variety of vessels and calling cruise liners from other ports throughout the world.
There will be five daily tours beginning at 10.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm.Tickets cost €15.00 for adults, €12.50 for students and the charge for senior citizens and children is €10.00.
In addition Sea Safari operate a 'River Liffey' only tour, a Dublin Bay 'North' and 'South' tours which visit Howth Head, Baily Lighthouse, Ireland's Eye and to Dalkey Island and Killiney Bay, where both bay tours provide a chance to spot local marine wildlife of seals, porpoises and sea birds.
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Basking sharks have dominated recent sightings of large marine wildlife, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
The largest shark species in Irish waters accounted for a whopping 43% of sightings submitted to the IWDG's ISCOPE database between 22 April and 1 May.
Other marine species spotted include minke whales (14%), bottlenose dolphins (10%) and sperm whales (2.5%).
April's unseasonably warm weather and calmer seas brought more people out to the water, which may account for this rise in figures.
Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.
Pictures of Dolphins jumping off Roches Point in Cork harbour have been captured for youtube viewers courtesy of a Cork fishing trip this week. The three harbour dolphins jump clean out of the water in the clip below from about 2:20 on the timeline. A Lovely marine animal sight on a summers evening!
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group believes that the whale spotted off Howth and Dublin Bay last week may be the same marine animal spotted at the foot of cliffs on Rathlin Island. The whale is thought to be moving down the Irish Sea, a rare behaviour for a humpback. Pictures of the sighting have allowed the IWDG identify it as a humpback, but they are waiting for higher-resolution images to match it with its counterpart in Howth.
The whale was spotted off Rathlin on July 11, three days before it surfaced near Dublin. The IWDG has said: "This is an extremely important sighting as it is only the second validated sighting of this species in N. Irish waters.
"In fact, as the previous sighting was closer to Colonsay, Islay, Scotland, we could easily argue that this is in fact the 1st record of a humpback whale in N. Irish waters."
Whales can cover more than 50 miles a day and migrate more than 5,000 miles in a year.
More info on the current crop of sightings can be found on the IWDG website, HERE.
Anyone spotting a whale is required by law to give them at least 100 metres room and travel parallel to their track, unless you want to end up like an unlucky pair of South African sailors, dismasted by a breaching Right Whale off Cape Town this week.
Since the first report of the Humpback whale off Howth, north Co Dublin, on Thursday, the first sighting in the area in almost 20 years, several other eyewitness reports are surfacing too. The sitings are among a handful of validated recordings of the species in Irish waters over the past century.
A 10-year-old boy who was taking part in a Howth YC sailing course was afloat when the mammal surfaced on Thursday afternoon. The whale swam between the rescue boat and the young sailor as he waited to be picked up by an instructor.
Earleir this week Skerries Sailing Club spotted the humpback on Wednesday evening when preparing for its evening race.. "The whale was just astern of the committee boat which was anchored, said one official.
"The whale remained in close proximity to the boat for about 20-30 minutes and came to within touching distance of the boat," he added.
The mammal has been photographed within metres of the Cardinal marker off Howth Head, between Ireland's Eye and Howth harbour.
The photographer, Seán Pierce of Shearwater Sea Kayaking told reporters: "It stayed around Cardinal Mark off Howth for over two hours . . . lolling about pushing [its] head into trailing weed and perhaps scratching itself." he told the Irish Times.
The mammal has a preference for shallow coastal waters.
The first inshore Fin Whales of 2010 have been spotted off the Waterford coast, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have reported. The Fin Whale is the second largest animal on the planet, with only the Blue Whale larger. Fin whales can grow to 27 metres in length, and weigh up to 70 metric tonnes and live to nearly 100 years.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group carried out a whale watching session at Ram Head in Ardmore. The description that follows is from the IWDG website, which you can find here.
"With what looked like a brief window of opportunity we arrived yesterday evening 5th July at 19.40 to carry out one of our 100 minute effort watches at Ram Head, Ardmore, Co. Waterford. With sea conditions and visibility excellent, it seemed likely that if there was anything out there we’d have a good chance of seeing it.Within half an hour Ann picked up on a "low puffy" blow about 8 km east-south-east of us. The animal proved to be extremely elusive and it was another 20 minutes before it was seen again as it headed towards the horizon. Yet again it disappeared and as Ann stayed watching the area where this whale was sporadically surfacing, I decided to continue my scan. There in the usual ‘hot spot’ for whale activity, due south of me was our first fin whale of the season. This animal was behaving in a much more reasonable manner. Three or four tall vapour plumes appeared in sequence as the whale steamed towards Capel Island.
So, once again, as in several previous years, Ardmore has also proved to be the place to be to witness the arrival of the first of these welcome visitors to our coastline. Let’s hope they stick around a bit before heading along the coast to Cork!
We never secured an ID on the first whale, but considering that humpback (HBIRL3) also known as ‘Boomerang’ has twice before been seen in the same week in July in the same patch of water (15th July 2002 and 13th July 2008) might he have decided to visit us again this year?
As the weather window appears to have closed again it seems unlikely that we will get a chance to do a watch for a while so I guess we’ll never know!Andrew Malcolm & Ann Trimble, IWDG