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Dolphins again in Broadhaven Bay

category mayo | environment | news report author Monday October 01, 2007 01:59author by JMauthor address Rossport Report this post to the editors

Bottlenose dolphins resident in the area

A group of bottlenose dolphins have been sighted all this week in Broadhaven Bay, North Mayo.
Broadhaven Bay and Erris Head
Broadhaven Bay and Erris Head

The group, today estimated to be around 15-20 in number, were seen just off Rinroe Point overlooking the Bay, among them a number of juveniles including very young calves. The distinctive markings on some of the adult's dorsal fins appear to identify the group as regulars in these waters over the past few years, and along with the young would suggest they may be resident in the area.

Broadhaven Bay is designated as a Special Area of Conservation, and has also recently been included in the new list of important shellfish areas by Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan. Many local people hope the Minister continues his interest in the Erris environment when deciding the fate of Shell's controversial Corrib gas project, which is planning to discharge waste from the proposed reinery into the Bay.

This week's other sightings included a similar number of dolphins at Glengad, near the approach to Sruth Fada Conn, the estuary identified as Shell's preferred location for the first of a series of production pipelines to Bellanaboy.

The presence of this dolphin group highlights the pristine quality of the local waters, and is a reminder of the great potential for clean, green eco-tourism in North Mayo.

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

View from Rinroe
View from Rinroe

Today's location off Rinroe
Today's location off Rinroe

Bottlenose group including young
Bottlenose group including young

Personal escort
Personal escort

author by Camper R - RSCpublication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 15:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Today, down on Glengad beach just beside Rossport Solidarity Camp there was also a group of seals basking in the midday sun. One seal was swimming just out from the group and jumping out of the water. There were at least 6 seals there and it looked like there was at least one young pup.

author by Ray - Cork Shell to Seapublication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 22:12author email corkshelltosea at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Also, it's a forceful reminder of how clean the environment is in this part of Ireland that a pod of bottlenose dolphins would come so close as to be photographed from land. Now I've seen dolphins before at sea, but to see a calf with them is definitely something new to me. This yet again underlines the lunacy of $h€ll's plans, and shows what we'll all lose if Erris goes under to state and corporate thuggery. My congratulations to the person who took the shots - they've done an incalculable service to those who love dolphins and Erris.

Related Link: http://www.corribsos.com
author by petepublication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 22:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Forget the current slogans and pictures of flaring, just use photos of these guys for publicity.

Save the Dolphins - Shell to Sea!

Save the Planet - Shell to Hell!

author by Maura Harrington - S2S; Davitt Leaguepublication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 23:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think now is the time to draw attention to the (non) role played by Dr. Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group with regard to cetacean protection in Broadhaven Bay and request his response to the following.

In early 2001 when I was arranging the Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Seminar - Corrib Gas, Great Gas for Whom; A Multinational Impact Assessment - I invited Dr. Berrow to attend and speak. He told me he was going to a wedding that weekend but would forward some literature, which he did and it was displayed during the seminar.

Some time later I again contacted Dr. Berrow but he was attending another wedding. On my third attempt to get Dr. Berrow to visit Erris he told me he was going to his own wedding! I wished him well and didn't go there again.

There is a perception on my part that there could be an attempt to perhaps over-emphasise the importance of cetacean residencies in the Shannon estuary to the point of neglecting promotion of other proven residencies, which include Broadhaven Bay.

There is also the disquieting fact that Shell's consultants RPS were handing out IWDG literature and DVDs like penny sweets at their so-called consultation days.

I do not dispute Dr. Berrow's commitment to cetacean protection; I merely ask that it be even-handed.

author by TXpublication date Tue Oct 02, 2007 00:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shell distributed IWDG info and DVDs at their so-called information days in Castlebar and Ballina.
What the hell is going on?

author by MacEpublication date Tue Oct 02, 2007 13:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's called greenwash. See

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwash
author by chrissiepublication date Tue Oct 02, 2007 19:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Terrific pictures - let's work to keep this area clean for wildlife. Refine the gas at sea!!!

author by jdpublication date Tue Oct 02, 2007 21:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If IWDG supplied Shell with literature and DVDs to be distributed at information meetings, to be used as greenwash by Shell, then IWDG has serious questions to answer about its relationship with Shell and more importantly, its commitment to our sea-life.

author by Eamonn O'Coilea'in - Republic of Irelandpublication date Thu Oct 04, 2007 08:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hey Jim; produced water' sounds delirious delicious, why don't you and shell bottle it,so we can all join in the fine taste of posionious metals and major bacteria. Is that why shell needs a pollution liecense because it's so clean, lies and more lies!!!!!
My thoughts are that you should just go up to Bellinaboy and drink it before it gets salty. OH and leave the Dolpins alone , They don't like posionious metals or bacteria in their enviorment. Where are you (JIM) and shell going to put all the TOXICANS, Just go away =

author by nesspublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See IWDG response from Oct 10:
IWDG Respond to Criticism over Corrib Gas
10 October 2007

With the recent sighting of a group of bottlenose dolphins in Broadhaven Bay, Co Mayo, the IWDG have been accused of inactivity with respect to the Corrib Gas issue. Some of this criticism was personal and will be ignored as the IWDG will not engage at this level, but we wish to clarify IWDG involvement to date.

The IWDG is a small NGO with a number of part-time independent contractors providing a service to the IWDG so we can deliver our second 5-year plan (2006-2010). In this plan the IWDG keep a watching brief on the Corrib Gas project having made extensive representations at the start of the project in 2001. The IWDG work by ensuring all advice and policy statements are backed up by best available information or best practice. We obtain this by a network of dedicated volunteers and professional biologists who record cetacean sightings and stranding. The IWDG add value to these records by combining with other records from other sources to obtain an accurate picture of what occurs where and when.

To date the IWDG have received 21 sightings of around 226 individuals of at least six species (harbour porpoise, bottlenose, common and Risso’s dolphin, killer and minke whale) in and adjacent to Broadhaven Bay. Bottlenose dolphins were by far the most frequently recorded species (67% of sightings). The recent sighting (www.indymedia.ie/article/84441&comment_limit=0&condense_comments

=false#comment208457) has not yet been submitted to the IWDG. A pilot whale recently stranded in the area (www.iwdg.ie/iscope/strandings/details.asp?id=3053) and which was buried by Mayo County Council, prompted some local conspiracy theories about its cause of death and the haste Mayo CC buried the animal to hide the evidence. This was the 20th stranding of this species in Co Mayo since 1980 and there is no evidence that this was an unusual event or there was a suspicious cause of death. Post-mortem examination of the whale might have provided useful information but there is no funding for carrying out post-mortem examination of stranded cetaceans presently available in Ireland.

The IWDG made a number of submissions to the Corrib Gas Environmental Imapct Assessment Scoping document in 2001. The submission, focused on the areas which RSK (the company conducting the EIA) wished to address, however the published version of the EIA failed completely to address the points which we had raised and indeed failed to acknowledge the IWDG submission entirely. The IWDG then made submissions to the Department of the Marine, Enterprise Oil and National Parks and Wildlife Service (formerly Dúchas) highlighting the deficiencies of the final EIA document. This was a matter which we pursued through the European Court of Justice, culminating in a judgement against Ireland in January 2007, which has had far reaching implications. The IWDG have also had assurrance from the NPWS that in future all such developmens will require a minimum 12 month baseline survey at the start in order to properly assess the potential impact and mitigation measures. We have also recently worked with PAD and the NPWS to bring in ‘Mitigating measures for the protection of marine mammals during acoustic seafloor surveys within Irish Waters” which has recently been incorporated into the Rules and Procedures for offshore licencing, including the newly licenced Porcupine bank as well as the Corrib area.

At present most of the issues the IWDG raised have been addressed and we feel confident that direct impacts on cetaceans in the area will be minimal. Indirect impacts through degradation of water quality, food supply etc are very hard to quantify and assess and will require detailed studies.

There have been a number of detailed studies on marine mammals in Broadhaven Bay, carried out by CMRC at UCC. These studies were funded by Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd and some are available on the web. One study (http://cmrc.ucc.ie/pages/K_project_page.php?project_cod...haven) conducted between 2001 and 2002 using visual, acoustic and photo-identification techniques recorded all five species on Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive and the CMRC team concluded that “there are few, if any, comparable examples of a relatively small, discrete bay in Ireland, containing all annex II marine mammal species with such frequency”. The study concluded “it is considered that the biological significance of the area, both described and potential, should not be overlooked”. Although this conclusion is a little verbose, the IWDG take it that Broadhaven Bay IS important for cetaceans and other marine mammal species.

Bottlenose dolphins are entitled to full protection under a number of National and International legislation as is their habitat. The Irish government is required to designate Special areas of Conservation fore this species and to date only the Shannon estuary has been designated. More are required. Maybe Broadhaven Bay could be such a site. Photo-identification by CMRC of bottlenose dolphins in the area has recorded 41 individually recognized individuals. This could form the basis of assessing home range and residency patterns in the area. Maybe as CMRC at UCC have carried out this work, on contract to Enterprise Energy, local activity might be directed at them to ensure this data is available and recommendations implemented and that this research ultimately supports continued monitoring and other relevant studies.

The IWDG have not been asked to carry out an assessment of the cetaceans in the area and their habitat. All IWDG data and submissions are available on www.iwdg.ie, which can be used to explore the cetacean community in the area.

Finally, if a better understanding of the cetaceans in the area is to be obtained we encourage people in North Mayo to record what they see, submit it to the IWDG so we can ensure the data is reliable and robust. Only be working together can we seek to ensure the marine environment in North Mayo and beyond, those animals that live in it, and those people who obtain a living from it, can be protected into the future.

Simon Berrow
IWDG Co-ordinator

author by jdpublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ness
All very admirable stuff. But a few questions linger -

1. Why was Shell distributing IWDG litrerature and DVDs at its information evenings in Castlebar,
Ballina etc.?

2.Did Shell purchase hundreds of these items from IWDG to be used as greenwash?

3.Did IWDG supply these items free of charge?

4.Was IWDG aware that Shell had possession of these items?

5.Was IWDG aware that Shell was using these items for propaganda purposes?

6.Did IWDG approve of Shell's activities in distributing these items at its so-called information sessions?

7.Is IWDG comfortable that it is now associated with the propaganda of one of the world's worst environmental vandals?

Courtesy of Shell
Courtesy of Shell

author by Vinny Hyland - private individualpublication date Mon Oct 15, 2007 16:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Instead of lambasting the IWDG - why didn't you establish a Cetacean watch programme for Broadhaven before Shell moved in on the area. I am sick to death of people jumping on a bandwagon and personalising isuues. As a non IWDG member, but a supporter of their excellent work, and as an independent wildlife filmmaker I am only too glad that the IWDG took the initiative, when they did and as early as they did. And as for the dolphins in the area... how many people have actually put their money where their mouth is and tried to set up a scheme whereby these localised dolphins can remain there?

author by walpublication date Mon Oct 15, 2007 18:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'set up a scheme whereby these localised dolphins can remain there'
Its called 'leaving them alone'. They're not some underprivileged underclass.

author by Adam M (eco-newbie)publication date Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whatever about $hell handing out IWDG literature, why not focus on the idea of campaigning for Broadhaven Bay to be made into a dedicated conservation area, some kind of marine reserve where no development is permitted?

Firstly, it would add an extra dimension (if it doesn't exist already - excuse my ignorance) to the campaign against $hell 's proposed activites in the area. It might also broaden support for the opposition.

Secondly, using other succesful marine reserves globally as examples, the benefits of eco-tourism to the local community could be quantified, which might make money-motivated politicians realise that there could be an income-generating alternative.

Thirdly, there could be some benefits to be had for non-mammal marine life - I remember some reference to shellfish in the area but I can't remember what exactly, someone else more familiar with it might know?

If I'm naively missing some point I'm sure I'll be told, but isn't it better to put all the energy into campaigning against what $hell are doing up there rather than infighting? Okay, some people might disagree with what others have done or are perceived to have done, but no-one here is proposing pumping refinery by-products into the bay.

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