The page was recently updated by Tsvika Lazar on December 17th, 2010
Photograph: Dr. Aviad Scheinin
February 2010 News
December 2009 News
We have received a report about Dolphins that were seen about 3 Km west of the coast of Jaffa. The Dolphins were seen on Thursday December 24th, at around 9am. The 4 Common bottlenose dolphins can be seen in the clip that was shot by the reporters here.
On Saturday, December 26th, we went on two surveys, one up north from Achziv and the other from Herzliya (with the Sea-Gal Yacht Club).
The former, that sailed towards Akko for about 3.5 hours, yielded sightings of a sea turtle, sea birds, great swarms of adult jelly fish, but no dolphins.
The Herzliya survey on the other hand had much pleasanter news. The yacht was packed with eager observers and after an hour of sailing (around 08:15) we saw a pod of common bottlenose dolphin, about 4.5 miles west of Ga'ash, in the vicinity of two working trawlers. The pod contained two mother-calf pairs. One of them turned out to be Ziggi, first identified on October 2008, and her young calf Zigmond. Zigmond seemed to be in good shape, he was very active and played with the bow wave of the yacht throughout the observation. The other mom was Nippo, seen for the first time in 2002, and on several occasions since. In 2006 we saw her with a calf, and on Saturday she was with a new-born calf. It was a great sighting, although being about a kilometer from the trawlers, the dolphins didn't actually follow them but rather displayed social activity near the surface of the water and towards the yacht.
We are continually thankful to Sea-Gal yacht Club for their support of dolphin research in Israel, and to the club members that help us follow the dolphins.
Photographs by: Aviad Scheinin
November 2009 News
Let's go back to July, and begin the report on events and activities:
On Saturday, July 11, IMMRAC staff conducted a survey aboard a yacht belonging to the "Sea-Gal" Yacht Club. On this survey, some 5 miles west of Netanya, seven adult short-beaked common dolphins were spotted, the first time ever in one of our own surveys. The dolphins were following the trawler "Nitsan",seemingly atop the trawler's net. This encounter adds up to a succession of sightings of the species since early May.
On August 18th, a survey took place off the northern coast aboard the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA)'s boat. The survey began at 06:00 from Achziv shore. After about an hour, a single common bottlenose dolphin was spotted for the first time for one fin burst only. After 30 minutes, it was spotted again in the distance, following the trawler "Or Hashahar". This time it made multiple long dives before disappearing again.
The boat went south to Nahariya and returned to the trawler as the net was raised. What was presumably the same dolphin was still making long dives, but was now much closer, allowing Mia to identify it as "Zavitan" that was first spotted off Achziv on September 16th, 2008. As the net was raised, a big festival began, with the birds diving from the sky and the dolphin from the sea and after it was gone, tuna fish arrived and performed a beautiful aerial display.
Many thanks to Eyal Miler (from INPA), Mia Elasar (IMMRAC committee member, and North Survey Leader) and Ohad Yniv, IMMRAC volunteer.
The "Sea-Gal" Yacht Club reported on a big pod of approximately 30 striped dolphins, including calves, spotted on August 26, around 17:30, during a sail from Herzliya to Cyprus, about 25 miles off the head of Mount Carmel.
On Saturday, September 12, we had a nice calm sea and a great dolphin survey from Sea-Gal's Yacht. After a while, about 3.5 miles off Ga'ash we spotted a small pod of common bottlenose dolphin, comprised of a mother, a small calf and another bigger calf, trailing the trawler "Sa'ar". A moment later the family moved away from the trawler and alternated between foraging and resting activities. After close examination of our dorsal fin's ID catalogue, we found the mother to be "Slide", first spotted on July 1st, 2007 with a small calf. The bigger calf of this occasion seems to be the same one from 2007, with its dorsal fin still kept intact and still accompanying its mother that gave birth to another one.
During the first year after giving birth, the mother is nursing and usually does not get pregnant. Another pregnancy during the second year after giving birth usually indicates a female in good health – encouraging evidence for the wild dolphins on our sea. This is the second female that we recorded giving birth for the second time, the first being "Ziggie".
Many thanks to "Sea-Gal" Club and Aviad, the surveys leader.
On September 23rd, we went for another survey from Ashkelon's Marina, as part of our ongoing cooperation with INPA in monitoring the marine reservation AVTH (Nitzanim). As a first time for these mutual surveys, a single common bottlenose dolphin was spotted at 09:00, 4 miles west of Nitzanim, behind the trawler "Shaldag". The dolphin was foraging with an average diving time of 6 minutes (very impressive).
Many thanks to the participants: Ronen from the INPA, Roni Roshtov the ornithologist, Ohad and Patrick, IMMRAC's volunteers and Aviad.
On September 26, we received two notices from "Sea-Gal" on dolphin sightings: The first was that a playful dolphin was spotted west of the Herzliya Marina, at a bottom depth of around 40 m. The dolphin rode the bow wave of the yacht for about 10 minutes. Around noon that day, the crew of the "The old man and the sea" spotted a pod of around 45 short-beaked common dolphins, some very young, two miles west of Ashkelon Marina.
On the morning of October 8th, during a northern survey out of Achziv, a single common bottlenose dolphin was spotted about 3 Km west of the shore, behind the trawler "Or-David". The dolphin surfaced 3 times and disappeared. After a short sail in the area and back after half an hour in time for the net raising, the dolphin was spotted again, and identified as "Eyal", first spotted on November 2007, west in the same general area.
The dolphin had some very new superficial wounds, that didn't keep it from enjoying the fish from the net. The fishermen did not mind our presence and our sailing around and up to the net to get better filming angles and a sea turtle gave us a short sally at the end of the observation.
Many thanks to Eyal Miler, Ohad Yaniv and Mia Elasar.
So far, the fall brings us good news and more observations.
On October 10th, we went to a survey from Herzliya Marina, and we saw dolphins for the 4th time in a row, from all our centers (Achziv, Herzliya & Ashkelon) since the beginning of September.
About half an hour after departure, we found a pod of 8 common bottlenose dolphins (including 2 calves born the last summer) about 3 miles off Tel-Aviv. The Dolphins were foraging behind trawler "Iris". One of the group was our adopted "Ziggie", that we are tracking since 2005.
The pod followed the trawler until another trawler, sailing in the opposite direction, passed by and part of the pod followed it, with us on their trail. After 2 hours we left the pod, the sea was so good that we decided to go west again, before heading back to the Marina.
Many thanks to "Sea-Gal" for all of their support by offering us to go on those surveys aboard their yachts, to Eliana Ratner from IMMRAC and to Yaron Haitovitz from "Wisemobility" company, which is responsible for our data collecting software, to Miri, IMMRAC's spokeswoman, for bringing the information to the Media and to Aviad.
Two days later, on October 12, we launched a survey from Michmoret Pier, to test-run IMMRAC-1, our own research and salvage boat, after its inflatable rubber ring was mended by "Zodiac" specialists in Cyprus. After very long sail, on our way back to the pier, we found a pod of 4 common bottlenose dolphins behind the trawler "Or Hashahar", about 3.5 miles off Hadera. After not too long, 2 of the dolphins left the pod and we continued to follow the other two. The survey course can be found following this link.In this we are rapidly approaching the activation of another centre for our surveys, which will bring to four the number of points of origin along the Mediterranean cost of Israel utilized by IMMRAC surveyors: Achziv, Herzliya, Michnoret and Ashdod, mostly thanks to our cooperation with INPA.
The last successful survey is this month, on November 11th, 3 hours worth of observation of 4-5 adult common bottlenose dolphins and 1 calf. Among the group we recognized the adopted dolphin "Slitie", first spotted in 2001!!! Since then we saw it 5 times (in all probability, a male). The sea was amazing, which allowed us to continue following the pod and observe the fission-fusion of two sub-pods: one of a mother, her calf and another adult, and the other of "Slitie" and another known dolphin, "Holo" (named for the round scar that he has below the dorsal fin).
Many thanks to the great team: Eliana, Shlomi, Yossi, Patrick, Ohad and Aviad.
This year we participated in the second "Sea-Science Festival", which took place in Sukkoth, in "Mevo'ot-Yam" school in Michmoret. Our participation included lectures throughout the day and a display of our boat "IMMRAC 1".
Photo by: IMMRAC chairman Aviad Scheinin
Photo by: IMMRAC committee member Mia Elasar
Photo by: Jeremiah Stein
Photo by: Aviad Scheinin
Clip by: the yacht crew
May 2009 News
May was full of observations of large dolphin pods. On May 8th, a large pod of 40-50 of a species called Short-beaked Common dolphin (SBCD), about 1.5 mile off shore from Ashdod Port. 6 calves were part of the pod, one of which was approximately a few days old. One of the people that spotted the pod was Nir Hadar, an IMMRAC volunteer. On May 22nd we received a report of a pod including around 50 SBCDs. The reporter is Alex, from the Ashdod Marine. In addition, the same day we had a report of a pod including 3 SBCDs, by Reuven Bernstein, a yachter. On the 26th we received a report of group of three SBCDs, this time 600 meters off shore of Lachish river beach. This report was received through the Sailing and Seamanship forum in Tapuz website. You can find the filmed Clip on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xO8hqjnp0Y. Another report was received on May 28th from a Tel-Aviv Marine Police Patrol crew: Herzl Hagu'el and Roy Ben-Sha'ul. The crew reported and documented a group of many tens of SBCDs about 3 miles off Tel-Aviv Marine between 9 to 10:30a.m. A Clip can be viewed at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TuOLhD9-Q
According to research the Mediterranean population of the Short-beaked Common dolphin has decline over the past decades years and has been recently assigned a "threatened" status. This Specie is rather rare off our coast, and we hope the last observations are an indication of a changing trend in its regional distribution.