In 1999, exploratory offshore surveys were undertaken from the Shannon Estuary out to the continental shelf 350 km to the west of Loop Head, Co. Clare to explore opportunities in expanding the whale watching industry in the estuary to the west.

It was funded by Shannon Development. The yacht Seadrifter was used for week-long surveys in June, July and September to record sighted species and vocalisations made using a towed hydrophone.

Poor weather hampered the survey but 1,772 km of sea was surveyed with common dolphins, harbour porpoises and minke whales observed while pilot and sperm whales were detected acoustically from Dingle to Galway which provided some early insight into Irish cetacean distribution.



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