IWDG focus research efforts off the Wexford coast

21st Jan 2010 Over the coming days 22-24th January, along with researchers from BIM & GMIT and a film crew from Crossing the Line Films, IWDG will conduct three survey days in the waters off Hook Hd and East Waterford.

Our research platform will be Martin Colfer's 11m twin engine catamaran, the MV Rebecca C which should be a fine platform for photo ID, biopsying and filming, should the opportunities present. We will be working out of Dunmore East, which should give us good access to the humpback whale (s) and fin whales which have been seen south of Hook Head in recent weeks.

Footage obtained will contribute to the finishing touches of the "Wild Journeys" series which IWDG have been collaborating on. Crossing the Lines Films based in Greystones, Co. Wicklow will need no introduction to those of you with an interest in natural history and adventure travel. We hope that this series which will feature humpback whales and basking sharks will be be aired in late Spring this year.

The focus of this few days research will not entirely be large whales, as part of the effort will comprise acoustic "play back " trials with common dolphins. This is important research which may someday help reduce the unacceptable bycatch levels of species like harbour porpoise and common dolphins in commercial fisheries.

So we'll be offline for a few days, but hope that we'll be able to download lots of new sightings data and indeed some new images of at least one new humpback whale which we know to be currently feeding off Hook Head area. Although this whale was photographed last week, there are still no fluke shots of the tail's underside which is ideally what we need to confirm whether it is a new whale or a re-sighting of an existing animal.

Till then

Pádraig Whooley

Sightings Co-ordinator