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Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The 'dolphin whisperers' is what they're calling a trio of siblings from Northern Ireland who helped rescue a distressed bottlenose dolphin off the coast of Brisbane in Australia.

Matthew, Joshua and Jessica Poole from Templepatrick leapt into action when staff at the Tangalooma Island Resort – where Matthew has worked for years and was recently joined by his brother and sister – found the dolphin had a fishing hook and line caught in her mouth, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

The line was easily removed, but things became critical a week later when the dolphin, named Silhouette, had to be separated from her calf Betts for further treatment – a delicate situation when dolphin calves can die from stress.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - Four more sperm whales have beached in eastern England on the North Sea coast after the first died in Norfolk last Friday (2 January).

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the first whale died on a the beach at Hunstanton despite best efforts to refloat it.

Initially estimated to be 50 feet in length, the carcass was later measured around 30 feet and has been put under guard to prevent "scavenging", as BBC News reports.

The whale was one of a pod of five whose remaining members have since stranded and died across the Wash in the Skegness area, according to the Irish Examiner.

A number of those carcasses have since been vandalised with graffiti reading 'Fukushima RIP', 'CND' and 'mans fault' [sic] – alleging a connection between the Japanese nuclear plant disaster in 2011 and the health of marine wildlife in the world's oceans.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Talk about a bounty! While it was reported on Afloat.ie just two days ago that whale sightings are on the increase in the Sunny South East as the season draws to a close, that wasn't the whole story.

According to the New Ross Standard, Martin Colfer's whale-watching tour trip last weekend not only sighted a humpback whale and fin whales but also more than 95 dolphins – enough to claim Hook Head as the new Dingle.

It's thought that the warming oceans are bringing cetaceans to Irish waters in much greater numbers than before as they chase their preferred fishy meals.

In other news, locals and visitors at a popular Norfolk beach were wowed by the sight of an enormous whale that washed ashore on Friday afternoon (22 January), as the Irish Mirror reports.

The 50ft sperm whale sadly died despite best efforts to refloat it in deeper waters -- but it's now become something of an attraction on the beach at Hunstanton as investigators work to discover the cause of death.

BBC News reports that the whale was one of as many as five that swam into the Wash inlet of the North Sea, two others of which freed themselves after stranding.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - There's good news to report from the Galway Atlantaquaria as Ninja the loggerhead turtle is out of intensive care.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 'cold stunned' reptile was close to death when she was rescued by staff at the Seal Rescue Centre in Courtown, Co Wexford after washing up on a Kilmore Quay beach before Christmas.

She was shortly after transferred to the longer-term care facilities at the Salthill aquarium, where she was treated for frostbite and wounds to her skin and shell.

And according to The Irish Times, the turtle is now over the worst of her ordeal, though she's missing a flipper and her skin will require more treatment.

The same staff at Galway nursed Leona the loggerhead back to health before she was flown to the more suitable warmer climes of the Canary Islands just over a year ago.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Whale sightings are on the increase in the South East this week as the season tapers off, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

"As large whales don't keep to our calendar year, this annual south east flurry of large whale sightings represents the tail-end our our large whale season," says the IWDG's sightings officer Pádraig Whooley.

"And what a season it has been, especially for the humpback whale, which have enjoyed a record year both in terms of frequency of sightings since they first appeared in early May off the Slea Head Peninsula."

The latest spots were made both on land – by Andrew Malcolm and Ann Trimble from Ardmore Co in Waterford at the weekend – and on a whale-watching trip with Martin Colfer's South Coast Charter Angling, recording a humpback whale and more than five fin whales between them.

And there might still be time to head down to the Sunny South East to catch a glimpse of these ocean giants before they depart for the spring.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Wildlife experts on the Isle of Man have been stumped by the carcass of an otter – a species not native to the island – found on Port Erin beach last Friday (15 January).

As BBC News reports, while the once severely threatened British otter population has recovered to the extent that the marine mammals can now be found in every county in England, they have never knowingly been a presence on Man – until now.

And with no microchip present on the animal to determine the deceased otter's origin, or indicate how it got to the island in the middle of the Irish Sea, the local wildlife trust has something of a mystery on its hands.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Twenty per cent of England's waters are now protected by Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) after 23 new sites were designated by the UK government, as the Guardian reports.

Two sites in the Irish Sea – Allenby Bay on the Solway Firth, and West of Walney off Barrow-in-Furness, both in Cumbria – number among the latest zones announced yesterday (Sunday 17 January).

The news comes a month after Northern Ireland put forward four new proposed sites for consultation, and more than two years after Westminster confirmed the first 27 MCZs around the British coastline, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

With the latest designations, that now brings the total number of conservation zones in England to 50 – still less than half of the 127 sites originally proposed after the passing of the Marine Act six years ago.

And according to marine conservation experts, even with these designations "the UK’s rich marine life has very little protection'.

Prof Callum Roberts of the University of York added that the MCZs are no more than "paper parks".

"They have no management at all, so life within them remains unprotected," he said. "They will be worse than useless, giving the illusion of protection where none is present."

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - A new film on a decade-long study of humpback whales in the Atlantic will have a special screening in Cork later this month, as The Southern Star reports.

The Humpback Whales of Cape Verde – which stars some of the marine giants that visit Cape Clear every year – will be shown to the public in a free event at Clonakilty Library at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27 January.

It following the work of Dr Simon Berrow of GMIT the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), who has been a part of annual marine science expeditions to Cape Verde for a number of years, studying the humpback whales of the islands off Western Africa – and their connections with West Cork, where the species is regularly spotted each summer.

Dr Berrow also featured on Afloat.ie this week for the new journal paper he co-authored on the threat of banned toxic chemicals in European waters to killer whales and other cetaceans.

Note: a previous reference to a screening in North Donegal was inaccurate, but dates of future library tour screenings for the film from February 2016 can be found HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Toxic chemicals banned in Europe nearly 30 years ago are still polluting the seas off the continent.

And marine scientists fear their continued presence could spell the end for the killer whale and other species in European waters, as the Irish Examiner reports.

The warning comes from newly published research on concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in marine wildlife – specifically orcas and other dolphins – in Irish, British and Mediterranean waters.

Co-authored by Dr Simon Berrow of GMIT and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the paper in the latest issue of journal Scientific Reports claims that despite the outright ban on the use of PCBs since 1987, they persist in "dangerously high levels in European cetaceans".

High exposure to PCBs, once used in the manufacture of paints and electrical equipment, weakens the immune systems of cetaceans and has a severe effect on their breeding rates.

The paper is available online HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Marine wildlife fans in the Dublin Bay area will be on the lookout for a group of bottlenose dolphins that have been spotted between Killiney and Dun Laoghaire.

It's the first sighting of the species off South Dublin since August 2012 when a pod of three dolphins that had delighted local residents for two years, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, moved on around the coast towards Kerry and beyond.

According to Irish Whale and Dolphin Group sightings officer Pádraig Whooley, it's not clear whether this is the same group of two adults and a juvenile returning to their previously regular haunt.

But with regular reports of sightings between Scotsman's Bay, Bullock Harbour and Killiney Bay since 2 January, there will surely be plenty of opportunity to get the necessary photographic evidence.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 9 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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