The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is dedicated to the conservation and better understanding of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Irish waters. The group was founded in 1990 to establish an Irish stranding and sighting scheme and to campaign for the declaration of Irish territorial waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary. Just six months later, in June 1991, the Irish Government declared all Irish waters to be a whale and dolphin sanctuary... the first of its kind in Europe. The IWDG is a broad mix of conservationists, whale watchers, researchers, educators and, above all, people who are passionate about marine wildlife and cetaceans in particular.
The IWDG is as registered charity (Charity Number: CHY 11163) and registered with the Charity Regulatory Authority (No. 20029913). We are also members of the Irish Environmental Network (IEN) and receive grant funding from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment through the IEN.
The IWDG receives funding from a range of sources, including grant funding from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment through the IEN, grants from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, membership subscriptions, corporate sponsorship, donations and consultancy work.
Our current focus is to promote better understanding of Irish cetaceans and their habitats through education and research. We achieve this through a number of IWDG Activities.
1. We collect information and disseminate it through our website www.iwdg.ie, publications, literature and media in order to support conservation initiatives in Ireland.
2. We collaborate with universities, government agencies and other research groups in research into cetaceans and their habitats in Ireland and abroad.
3. We work towards making the Irish Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary effective in the conservation of all cetaceans that either live in, or migrate through Irish waters.
4. We work side by side with industry, fishermen and other groups whose interests may sometimes conflict with those of cetacean conservation, to solve problems to the benefit of both humans and cetaceans.
5. We highlight the fact that Ireland is one of the best locations in the North Atlantic to see cetaceans and to stress the need to conserve them for future generations.
6. We promote best practice in marine tourism and whale-watching in Ireland.
7. The IWDG prepare a three year plan following consultation with members. The current plan is available here