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Marine Wildlife
The Hemlock Water-dropwort, also known as Dead Man's Fingers, is a flowering plant in the carrot family
Ards and North Down Council has warned the public that Hemlock Water Dropwort, also known as ‘Poisonous Parsnip’ has washed up on Groomsport beach where it was seen and reported by a member of the public. Groomsport is about two…
File image of the lower pond at Waterworks Park in North Belfast
A number of dead aquatic birds have been removed from a former reservoir in Belfast following an outbreak of avian flu in Northern Ireland, as Breaking News reports. Waterworks Park in North Belfast has been closed until further notice while…
A still from the video shot by Andy Smith showing a grey seal with a harbour porpoise calf in its mouth, moments before attempting to drown and feed on it
The first case of a grey seal predation on a harbour porpoise in Irish waters has been confirmed, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says. Video of the incident off Clogherhead in Co Louth on Sunday 14 November was…
File image of dolphins off Cornwall
Marine mammals are among the victims of a rise in crimes against wildlife in the UK, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Data collected by an alliance of 16 conservation groups suggests that in Cornwall alone, incidents involving marine wildlife nearly…
Work on Ocean Mural in Vilnius Commences
An internationally-renowned team of Spanish artists has been creating a large mural in the Lithuanian home base of the EU Environment and Oceans commissioner this week to inspire action on climate breakdown. The Boa Mistura team of artists have been…
Machair is a Gaelic word meaning
Conservation of Ireland’s coastal machair habitats will benefit from some €7.4 million in funding, Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has said. Some €5.7 million of the total sum of €7.4 million will be drawn from the new EU…
Stop Finning campaign graphic
An EU-wide campaign against the shark fin trade in Europe is seeking votes from the public to take the matter to the European Parliament. The removal of fins on board EU fishing vessels and in EU waters is prohibited by…
Dublin Bay sea swimmers
The life and times of Dublin Bay and glimpses of its wildlife against the backdrop of the capital and major port is the theme of a new series beginning on TG4 this week. Filmed over four seasons, An Cuan is…
UCC researchers Prof Alan Dobson and Dr David Clarke involved in EU project to tap oceans for new medicines
New antibiotics in the world’s oceans and the curative properties of marine animals like sponges will be explored in a European project involving researchers at University College Cork (UCC). The EU has awarded a total of €7.5 million under its…
Maori whale expert Ramari Stewart with the skull of the newly discovered species of whale named after her
Irish whale experts have contributed to the identification of a new species of whale which is so deep diving that it has rarely been recorded before. A global network of researchers including Prof Emer Rogan of University College Cork/Environmental Research…
A drone video shows first one and then a pair of southern right whales interacting in the most harmless possible way
There have been many reports of orcas - aka “killer whales” - attacking boats off the coast of Portugal and Spain. But large and all as they are, orcas are among the smaller whale species. And it seems that the…
File image of Strangford Lough in Co Down
Marine wildlife in Strangford Lough faces a “real risk” from an increase in recreational watersport, as The Irish News reports. Rangers from the National Trust in Northern Ireland recorded a record number of grey seal pups and a “stable” population…
The young harbour seal with a drinks can stuck to its lower jaw wast first spotted in Belfast earlier this month
A young harbour seal spotted in Belfast Lough earlier this month with an aluminium can stuck on its lower jaw has been rescued by police in Scotland. The Irish News reports that the juvenile marine mammal had swum across the…
File image of a curlew at Victoria Park in Belfast
Just 34 breeding pairs of curlew were confirmed in the fifth year of the Curlew Conservation Programme, according to figures in its 2021 report. And of that number — recorded across nine important breeding areas — only nine pairs were…
The research found that microplastics are affecting the behaviour of hermit crabs
New research at Queen’s University highlights the impact that microplastics are having on hermit crabs, which play an important role in balancing the marine ecosystem. The research found that microplastics are affecting the behaviour of hermit crabs, namely their ability…
Lagan Search and Rescue on the search for the distressed seal spotted with a drinks can stuck to its lower jaw
The search continues in Belfast Lough for a young harbour seal spotted with an aluminium can stuck on its lower jaw in recent days. According to BBC News, the seal was spotted on Wednesday (6 October) in a state of…

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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