Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation
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Good season for dolphin-watching boats in 2007

Despite poor weather and a downturn in tourism in County clare during 2007, the dolphin-watching boats in the Shannon estuart report a 1% increase in trip numbers.

Annual monitoring carried out by the SDWF on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife Service reported a total of 407 dolphin-watching trips in the Shannon estuary. Just over one-half (208) were carried out from Kilrush and 199 from Carrigaholt. No trips departed County Kerry during 2007.



There were some interesting changes in the monitoring indices during 2007. Trip length increased from both ports in 2007, especially from Kilrush and time to locate dolphins from Carrigaholt increased by 18.7%.

There was a change in the location dolphins were watched from Kilrush from Zone 4 (north side of the inner estuary) to Zone 5 (south side of inner estuary) and Carrigaholt boats spending less time in Zone 3 (Beal bar).

The number of groups located by the Carrigaholt boat decreased by 24%, though group size was consistent with previous years. Group size from Kilrush decreased by 25% though the number of groups watched per trip increased from 1.1 to 1.3.

The data from the photo-identification was consistent with nearly two-thirds of dolphin observed were the same dolphins in the previous year. Overall, despite an increase of 1% in the total number of trips carried out during 2007, there was a 4% decrease in the total time on dolphins.

Clearly there are inter-annual changes in the distribution and group composition of dolphins in the estuary and only continuation of long-term monitoring will help to understand trends. Given the trends in the monitoring data presented here, it is recommended that a detailed analysis of the monitoring data is carried out, examining inter and intra-annual trends.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded on the Conservation/Monitoring page on this website.

 


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The SDWF is supported by the following agencies... Shannon Development Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Marine Institute Clare County Council Kilrush Urban District Counil
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