Tell me about … running a whale watching business

August 26th, 2022 8:30 AM

By Southern Star Team

Many of Nic’s customers come from landlocked countries and are in awe to see common dolphins like these swimming alongside the boat. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Nic Slocum of Whale Watch West Cork shares what the season has been like so far


What’s the whale and dolphin activity been like off our coast this summer?

It started strongly with excellent dolphin activity but both dolphins and larger whales are very scattered now as the sprat feedstock numbers appear to be very low. It’s difficult to assess the reasons but probably the result of devastating over-fishing these past 10 years as sprat is not subject to quotas under the common fisheries policy. The tragedy is that sprat are largely sold as fishmeal, not for human consumption!

Where have the people on your tours been mainly from this season?

Predominantly overseas visitors. German and Dutch visitors have bounced back post Corvid with Switzerland, France and Italy showing good signs of recovery. UK visitors started to increase during July with Irish visitors to the region slow in May and June but  picking up significantly.

What’s your stand out memory of the summer season so far?

An evening tour in early June, with a warm sun getting low on the western horizon and gently drifting on the tide with engines off … young minke whales and dolphins swimming around and under the boat to the gasps of awe from our many international guests, many of whom come from land-locked countries and rarely get to sea. Long may Ireland be able to offer this experience.

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