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Beached whale at Broadhaven Bay

category mayo | environment | news report author Tuesday August 14, 2007 00:39author by JM TC Report this post to the editors

On Friday 3rd August 2007 a beached long-finned pilot whale was discovered dead on Glengad beach in Erris, north Mayo. This overlooks Broadhaven Bay, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a recognised habitat for significant species of marine mammals.
The dead pilot whale on Glengad beach
The dead pilot whale on Glengad beach

Pilot whales are rarely seen near the shore, and spend most of their time in deeper waters around the continental shelf, where they travel in large groups feeding off squid and small fish. Because of their dark colouring and similar size they are sometimes mistaken for killer whales, which also inhabit similar waters.

As with all marine mammals pilot whales are very sensitive to seismic disturbance, and it is this fact that is causing concern to the people of the area. It is well known that offshore activities associated with oil and gas exploration are currently underway, including 3D seismic surveys around the nearby Corrib gas field. Shell E&P Ireland Ltd. are also involved in ongoing seismic work in the bays of Broadhaven and Sruth Fada Conn.

Mayo County Council were quick to respond to the situation, burying the remains in the beach within hours of being informed by locals. It appears that no efforts were made to determine the cause of death or to retain samples for analysis, which would be normal for what seemed to be an otherwise healthy specimen.

Also of concern to the people of the area is that the beach is part of the protected habitat of Broadhaven Bay, which was recently highlighted by the Council in itís efforts to evict the adjacent Rossport Solidarity Camp. This contradictory behaviour by the local authority is even more puzzling because of Mayo County Councilís stance on the Corrib gas project, who twice granted permission for Shellís scheme through the very same beach. The council also approved a planning retention for unauthorised road-building by Shell through the SAC, which is currently being appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

From all of this two things seem certain. Broadhaven Bay and itís surrounding waters are highly important to a large and thriving marine ecology. The second thing is that the authorities and Shell donít seem to care.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com/

Known territory of the long-finned pilot whale - North Atlantic
Known territory of the long-finned pilot whale - North Atlantic

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   clarificication     Dom    Tue Aug 14, 2007 01:02 
   Not so unusual...     Captain Birdseye    Tue Aug 14, 2007 09:55 
   Beached whale. Questions about seismic operations     Terence    Tue Aug 14, 2007 17:54 
   re: seismics     jayzhus    Tue Aug 14, 2007 20:49 
   Let's see now     betting man    Wed Aug 15, 2007 21:54 
   Shell and Broadhaven Bay - a reminder     JM    Thu Aug 16, 2007 00:38 
   law? what law?     dill    Thu Aug 16, 2007 00:55 
   Recent seismic activity     call me Ishmael    Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:52 
   Info for call me Ishmael     D    Thu Aug 16, 2007 14:15 
 10   JM - get your facts straight     SL    Thu Aug 16, 2007 22:24 
 11   alternatives?     jd    Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:10 
 12   glengad - the facts     man in the know    Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:27 
 13   economical     jd    Sun Aug 19, 2007 14:34 
 14   glass houses     realist    Sun Aug 19, 2007 15:40 
 15   context!     realist    Sun Aug 19, 2007 15:49 
 16   Don't be fooled     jd    Sun Aug 19, 2007 18:40 
 17   Blasting in BH Bay?     Erris Exile    Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:08 
 18   Red Faces     jd    Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:15 

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