The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG) is responsible for the conservation of natural habitats and species and the protection of biological diversity in Ireland. It is also responsible for providing advice to Licensing Authorities in that regard. All species of Cetacea (i.e., whales, dolphins & porpoises) occurring in Ireland are protected under Irish and European legislation and through international agreements. These include the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012, the Habitats Directive, the OSPAR Convention, the Bonn Convention, the Berne Convention, and the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
As part of Ireland’s conservation obligations concerning cetaceans there is a significant requirement for the monitoring of cetacean occurrence in all Irish waters. The State also has a legal obligation through the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) to monitor key marine habitats and species and to report on their conservation status to the EU.
The Lower River Shannon is a candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for inter alia Common Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Several population assessment studies have been undertaken on this distinct resident dolphin community with the most recent being boat-based photo-identification surveys undertaken in 2015, 2010, 2008 and 2006-07. For information on the above studies see http://www.npws.ie/marine/marinereports/. In order to fulfil the requirements for monitoring set out within the Habitats Directive a population assessment compatible in methodology with the aforementioned surveys will be undertaken during 2018.
The National Parks & Wildlife Service of DCHG now invites tenders for the provision of Bottlenose dolphin surveys in the Lower River Shannon SAC, 2018.
Refer to RfT