Cetacean heaven in the Porcupine Seabight

31st Jan 2014

Check out the incredible images and diversity recorded this autum in the Porcupine seabight off southwest Ireland. Maren Reichelt and Mick Baines were working as MMO and PAM operators from July to September during a seismic survey of the Porcupine.

Common and offshore bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales and fin and blue whales demonstrate the rich abundance of cetaceans in Irish waters and the responsibility we have to ensure these populations and their habitats are protected.

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group research vessel Celtic Mist also recorded large numbers of fin and blue whales in the same area in September 2012 and a number of beaked whales along the shelf edge in September 2013.

A new paper published this week in Molecular Ecology by Marie Louis and co-authors show, for the first time, these offshore bottlenose dolphins are genetically discrete from the inshore bottlenose. This work was supported by the IWDG who supplied biopsy samples and increases further our responsibility to manage both inshore, offshore and the Shannon Estuary bottlenose dolphins as separate management units. Great challenges lie ahead.

Mick Baines has kindly submitted his photo-id images of bottlenose dolphins and blue whales to the Irish Photo-id catalogues.


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