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Minke whale a surprise guest in Belfast Harbour


The minke whale in Belfast Harbour yesterday

The minke whale in Belfast Harbour yesterday

The minke whale in Belfast Harbour yesterday

There was a surprise at Belfast Harbour yesterday as a minke whale was spotted in the water.

The minke whale is the whale most commonly encountered in Northern Ireland's waters.

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

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said the marines and fisheries team were monitoring 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," it 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.

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It has a distinctive dive sequence, and while it appears similar to a dolphin, its large size marks it out.

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