The IWDG

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.

 

Officers

  • Chief Executive Officer

    Simon Berrow is Chief Science Officer and Acting CEO of the IWDG. He is a founder member of the IWDG and had been co-ordinating its activities since his return to Ireland in 2000. He is Project Manager of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation (www.shannondolphins.ie) based in Kilrush, Co Clare. Simon carried out his PhD at Lough Hyne Marine Reserve while at University College, Cork where he set up the IWDG and also spent 2.5 years on South Georgia with the British Antarctic Survey. He lectures full time at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (www.gmit.ie) on the Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology degree and IMBReSEA Masters programme.

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 8545450

    Email: simon.berrow@iwdg.ie

    E-mail address: ceo@iwdg.ie
  • Group Coordinator and Communications Officer

    Trea Heapes is the Group coordinator and communciations officer. She has a BSc. in Computer Systems and has many years of experience in industry. In recent years she has worked on local community projects including: Project Coordinator for Seol Sionna, a traditional boat building project, Tourism Development officer for Loop Head Tourism, a community tourism network, Community liason and project coordinator for a number of Heritage Council projects including the Loop Head Heritage Audit and the Loop Head Wetlands study. Trea has a keen interest in nature watching and conservation and has been a member of the group for a number of years. 

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 3819 216

    Email: trea.heapes@iwdg.ie

    E-mail address: coordinator@iwdg.ie
  • Sightings Officer

    Pádraig is IWDG Sightings Officer. His involvement with IWDG dates back to 1992. Since then he has been Group secretary (1996), Membership secretary (1997) and has held his current position as Sightings Officer since 1999. Since those early days he has travelled extensively in search of whales, before moving to Cork in 1999. He spent much of the next decade monitoring fin and humpback whales along the West Cork coast. He is an advocate of sustainable Whale Watching and is a regular contributor to a range of natural history publications, media and wildlife documentaries.

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 3850568

    E-mail address: sightings@iwdg.ie
  • Strandings Officer

    Mick O'Connell is IWDG Strandings Officer. Although originaly trained as a forester he has been co-ordinating the IWDG Cetacean Stranding Scheme since 2003, originally under the ISCOPE project and now under contract to the NPWS. Mick has spent considerable time carrying out land-based watches around Co Kerry and was also on the IWDG Cape Verde Expedition in 2006.

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 87 6328106

    E-mail address: strandings@iwdg.ie
  • Science Officer

    Seán O’Callaghan is Science Officer with the IWDG. Séan recently graduated with a degree in Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology course from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. He has been involved with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group since 2008 and is accredited as a JNCC Marine Mammal Observer with experience in both land and boat based monitoring for abundance estimates and mitigation measures. He has undertaken research in Ireland and Portugal since 2016. Séan provides support to the science programme and officers as well as currently carrying out his own work on using photo-grammetry for determing length and condition of dolphins and whales. 

    Mobile Phone: 085 7764918

    Email: sean.ocallaghan@iwdg.ie

    E-mail address: science@iwdg.ie
  • Ship Survey Officer

    Dave is Ship Survey Officer with the IWDG. Dave, based in Co. Down, Northern Ireland, first joined the IWDG in the mid '90s and has developed the IWDG's programme of offshore surveys. He established the IWDG ferry surveys programme in 2001 and continues to manage the surveys on our three routes across the Irish Sea. Dave also manages the offshore survey programme and has conducted thousands of hours of survey effort in Irish and EU offshore waters. In 2013 he authored the IWDG Atlas of the distribution and relative abundance of marine mammals in Irish offshore waters 2005 - 2011. He has pioneered deepwater acoustic monitoring for cetaceans in Irish waters using static acoustic monitoring and continues this work as part of IWDG's consultancy programme.

    Mobile phone: +44 77 71762355

    E-mail address: shipsurveys@iwdg.ie
  • Photo-id Officer

    Isabel Baker is IWDG Photo-ID Officer. She is a graduate of the University of St Andrews, Scotland, with an honours degree in Marine Biology and has worked on marine mammal projects in Florida, Hawaii, Queensland and Western Australia. She is especially interested in the social behaviour of cetaceans and has extensive experience in whale and dolphin photo-identification. She has been managing the Shannon Dolphin Photo-ID Catalogue since June 2012 and has conducted four summer field seasons at the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Centre in Kilrush. She worked as a Senior Researcher for the Irish Whale and DolphinGroup on the Shannon Dolphin Project where she completed her PhD in GMIT on the life history, social and foraging behaviour of bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary in February 2018

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 4057633

    E-mail address: photoid@iwdg.ie
  • MMO Officer

    Patrick Lyne is the IWDG MMO Officer. Patrick has a BSc honours degree, Masters in Internet Systems, Postgraduate Diploma in Education. Joined the IWDG in 2004 and has worked in mitigation to reduce the impact of acoustic disturbance in offshore work in Ireland and abroad since 2008. Working with the IWDG to try to improve environmental standards in Ireland and as a Committee member of the Marine Mammal Observers Association (MMOA) endeavouring to improve mitigation standards worldwide.

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 2334424

    E-mail address: mmo@iwdg.ie
  • Social Media and Outreach Officer

    Meadhbh Quinn is contributing to social media outreach.  Meadhbh graduated from University College Cork with a BSc Hons in Zoology, and shortly after began working as a research assistant with the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation.  It was here that she first became actively involved with IWDG.   She is now an accredited Marine Mammal Observer and carries out a range of work in inshore, offshore and land based monitoring surveys for research and consultancy purposes, as well as working as a fisheries contractor for the Marine Institute.  

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 872759529

    E-mail address: meadhbh.quinn@iwdg.ie
  • Northern Ireland Officer

    Cathy Hinds is IWDG Northern Ireland Officer. She is in final year of a marine biology degree at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). At present she is working in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute for her placement year, focusing on cetaceans and working in collaboration with IWDG. She is a trained and certified Marine Mammal Observer and is actively involved in ship surveys, land based watches and has taken part in a fin whale necropsy. She is working on a photo-ID project of bottlenose dolphins using social media as an untapped resource. She is a qualified PADI open water diver and used to row for QUB.

    Mobile phone: +44 7511160658

    Email: catherine.hinds@iwdg.ie

    E-mail address: northernireland@iwdg.ie
  • Irish Language Officer

    Padraic de Bhaldraithe is the IWDG Irish language officer. Padraic is a graduate in zoology from UCD, with an MSc in Zoology from University College, Galway. He subsequently did postgraduate research in biological oceanography in Galway and in the Centre Nationale de l’Exploration des Océans in Brest, France. He was involved in the salmon mariculture industry for a number of years, taught in a second-level school for 10 years before joining the inspectorate of the Department of Education and was subsequently seconded to the State Examinations Commission where he was the Chief Examiner for Biology. He has been a member of the IWDG for a number of years. He is also a keen sailor, reporting casual sightings on the Irish coast to the IWDG. He studied translation at the National University of Ireland and currently works as a freelance translator.

    Fón póca (Mobile phone): 353 (0) 87 6591904

    Email: padraic.debhladraithe@iwdg.ie

    E-mail address: irishlanguage@iwdg.ie
  • Membership and Merchandise Officer

    Mags Daly is acting as Membership Officer for the IWDG a role assisted by Stephanie Levesque and Frances Bermingham. This involves  managing membership database, responding to requests and sending out orders and sourcing new lines of merchandise.

    Email: mags.daly@iwdg.ie

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 83 840 1102

    E-mail address: membership@iwdg.ie
  • Book-keeper

    Susanne Matejka is the IWDG Book-keeper and has a degree in Business Economics. She has extensive experience in office management, events management, marketing and accounting. Susanne has worked in small and big organisations, including tourism. She has been in contact with IWDG regarding small tourism events in recent years and provided possibilities of exposure during events for the group.

    Mobile Number: 353 (0) 87 927 1476

    Email: susanne.matejka@iwdg.ie

    E-mail address: accounts@iwdg.ie
  • Conservation

    To be filled

    E-mail address: conservation@iwdg.ie
  • Welfare

    To be filled

    E-mail address: welfare@iwdg.ie