Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: Minke whale spotted in Belfast Harbour

By Michael Sheils McNamee

A minke whale has been spotted in Belfast Harbour.

This species of whale is the type most commonly encountered in Northern Irish waters, and is known to swim near to Belfast Lough.

Younger whales, which this one appears to be, occasionally make their way further inshore.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said that there are no immediate grounds for concern, and that the Marines and Fisheries team continue to monitor the whale's behaviour and are working with colleagues from Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

"The animal is currently in a well regulated area within Belfast Harbour where there is no risk of disturbance," they said.

"The whale is not in an area that is easily viewable by the public, however, as a marine protected species, people are advised to enjoy any views they are fortunate to have of this remarkable animal but not to approach or do anything to disturb it."

Minke whales can grow to between 9m and 10m in length, and can weight more than nine metric tonnes.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin group, the minke whale has a distinctive dive sequence, and while it may appear similar to a dolphin, its large size marks it out.

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