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Beached whale at Broadhaven Bay

Beached whale at Broadhaven Bay
mayo | environment | news report Tuesday August 14, 2007 00:39 by JM TC

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
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 it’s efforts to evict the adjacent Rossport Solidarity Camp. This contradictory behaviour by the local authority is even more puzzling because of Mayo County Council’s stance on the Corrib gas project, who twice granted permission for Shell’s 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 it’s surrounding waters are highly important to a large and thriving marine ecology. The second thing is that the authorities and Shell don’t seem to care.
Related Link:
Known territory of the long-finned pilot whale - North Atlantic

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Posted Date: 
13 August 2007 - 2:47pm