Dusty the Dolphin to be shielded from Doolin explosions

Planned explosions tomorrow evening during the construction of the new pier in Doolin

A still photograph from YouTube showing a member of the public attempting to play with Dusty the dolphin last year.

A still photograph from YouTube showing a member of the public attempting to play with Dusty the dolphin last year.

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 20:09

A team of marine experts will be deployed to Doolin tomorrow to ensure that Dusty the Dolphin and other marine life are not hurt during a series of planned explosions at Doolin Pier.

Three marine experts from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will be joined by a team of professionals from Aquafact, a Galway based hydrographic consultant, to minimize any injury or disturbance that might be caused during the explosions.

The detonations, which are part of the construction process for the new €6 million Doolin Pier, were due to take place last Thursday and Friday but were delayed for operational reasons.

This is the first time that the impact of major coastal blasts on marine life has been taken into account since the adoption of new guideline by the National Parks and Wildlife Service [NPWS]in December last year.

The safety team will conduct a detail inspection of the surrounding waters during the explosions – and no detonations will be allowed until 15 minutes after a dolphin, porpoise or other creature is sighted.

Dusty the dolphin has been off the shore near Inis Oírr for the last few weeks and it is hoped that she will remain on the nearby Aran Islands until all the blast work can be completed.

“Dusty is on the Aran Islands at the moments and she should be safe out there but there are a whole array of marine mammals in the area. Dusty is just one, granted she is the most famous, but there are a large number of mammals that we are looking out for,” said Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

“Our objective is to make sure that no mammals are harmed in the explosions. It is a good plan, we have spent a lot of time working on it, and we are hopeful that it will be successful.”

An exclusion zone will be put in place around Doolin Pier tomorrow evening.

Construction work on a new €6 million pier got underway last month and it is expected to be completed by the middle of next year with Clare based construction company, L&M Keating, carrying out the complex build.

Dusty has become a household name in recent years since she made Doolin her home six years ago. She has been involved in a number of incidents with members of the public in recent times – with at least two people being hospitalised after swimming with her.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have appealed to all members of the public, including people who feel they have established a rapport with the dolphin, not to enter the water when Dusty is present.