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  • Atlantic Action Plan

Cetacean distribution and habitat preferences off the south west coast of Ireland

Whale and dolphin watching is a burgeoning industry in Ireland and is estimated to be worth 1.25 million euros annually to the Irish economy: a fraction of what other similar states accumulate from the industry. The West Cork and Kerry coasts are the most prolific in terms of cetaceans at particular times of the year yet very little is know as to where and when they will appear. Understanding the drivers which influence their distribution would not only benefit the budding whale watch industry but also conservation efforts, local fishing industries and coastal infrastructure installations that need to mitigate for the presence of such animals.
The study will require boat based surveys for data collection of cetaceans on the south west coast over a number of years along with fine scale tidal flow data, ocean chemistry and planktonic/ nektonic biological information.

Sectors of Activity: 
Maritime and coastal tourism
other
Other Sector of Activity: 

Marine Conservation, Marine Habitats, Marine wildlife mitigation

Funding other: 

Horizon 2020, Environmental Protection agency, Irish Research Council, Science foundation Ireland,Enterprise Ireland SME instrument, Interreg

Objective: 

To understand the biotic and abiotic drivers which can be mathematically modelled and function as proxies for the location and distribution of cetaceans on the south west coast of Ireland.

Beneficiaries: 

Coastal tourism organisations, Conservation organisations, Oil and Gas industry, Offshore renewable energy industry, fishing industry, coastal infrastructure development organisations.

Main activities: 

Whale watching and wildlife expereinces, developing marine protected areas, mitigation, understanding best practice for no take zones or periods, providing optimal timing for coastal infrastructure operations

Main deliverables: 

Models and algorithms for cetacean distribution based on environmental and ecological variables

Partners needed: 

University College Dublin's (UCD) SMARTlab which will be based in Caherciveen Co Kerry. Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. Marine Institute.

Timetable: 

4 years, Phd study with UCD SMARTlab

Budget: 

€65,000 per annum total €260,000

Geographical target area: 

South West Ireland Cork and Kerry Coast - from Kerry Head to Baltimore West Cork.

Countries: 
Ireland
Name of Organisation: 
Wild Atlantic Wildlife
Address: 
Adrigole, Beara
City: 
Bantry Co Cork
Postal code: 
P75NY80
Country: 
Ireland
Contact person: 
Niall Mac Allister
Position: 
Owner/operator
Department: 
Research
Email: 
westcorksailing@gmail.com
Phone: 
086 8542854