Irish Whale and Dolphin Group Co-ordinator, Dr. Simon Berrow visits Tourism Students @ IT Tralee. On Thursday March 15th, The Hotel, Culinary and Tourism Department was delighted to welcome Dr. Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group to IT Tralee. Organised by Fiona Tobin, the public lecture was attended by students of BA Adventure Tourism, BA Travel and Tourism and the BA Wildlife Biology programmes as well as members of the public.
After completing a degree in Applied Biology at Liverpool Polytechnic, Simon moved to Ireland to carry out a PhD in Zoology at University College, Cork in 1986. His PhD, based at Lough Hyne Marine Reserve in West Cork, looked at the impact of avian predators on the inter-tidal zone.
During his PhD he started working on stranded and bycaught cetaceans and he subsequently founded the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group in 1990. He was Co-ordinator of the IWDG, which co-ordinates a stranding and sighting scheme throughout the island of Ireland, from 1991 to 1995 and from 2000 to the present.
Simon has spent time in the South Atlantic where his work involved carrying out a whale survey of the region for the International Whaling Commission. He helped found the Irish Basking Shark Study Group in 2009. Simon is currently an Editor of the journal "Tourism in Marine Environments" and is on the Council of the European Cetacean Society. He also recently completed a term on the board of management of the National Biodiversity Data Centre and is Project Manager of the Shannon Dophin and Wildlife Foundation based in Kilrush, County Clare.
he lecture at IT Tralee was entitled ‘Whale and Dolphin Watching in Ireland: Delivering on its potential’ and was both informative and engaging. Whale watching is one of the fastest growing tourism industries in the world and the potential in Ireland is considered hugely under-developed. Irish waters are among Europe's richest for cetaceans, with an impressive 24 species recorded to date.
With the help of some stunning photographs Simon showcased the diversity of marine wildlife in Irish waters which includes Killer Whales (Orcas), Bottlenose and Common Dolphins, Minke, Fin, Pilot and Humpback Whales, Basking Sharks, Porpoise, Seals and colonies of seabirds.
Focusing particularly on the Shannon region, Simon discussed the potential economic and conservation benefits for coastal communities from further developing this niche Tourism product. Students also had an opportunity to discuss their own experiences of Whale and Dolphin watching in Ireland and abroad.ï»¿