IMMRAC news   
The website was updated by Tali Tevlin on 05/09/06

IMMRAC is wishing a happy birthday to Dr. Dani Kerem, president of IMMRAC. Mazal Tov.

photographed by : Aviad Scheinin

Successful Dolphin Survey – August 24th, 2006.

Last Thursday, August 24th, 2006, we went out on a dolphin survey from Herzlia on a See-Gal yacht. Twenty six minutes into the sail, we spotted two common bottlenose dolphins, a mother and a calf. Once again the mother seemed skinny, the calf was relatively independent, and they both foraged 1.5 miles away from the Herzlia marina. We also had an interesting bird sighting of Arctic skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) as well as of a falcon and a flock of ducks. To sum up, it was a successful survey.

Thanks to the crew: Meytal, Yair, Shirley, Hadar, Ronit, Ofer, Michal and Aviad and the bird-watchers: Yochai and Shachaf.


Teva Hadvarim – 2nd article about


One more article that was written by IMMRAC members was published in the August issue of the Israeli magazine Teva Hadvarim (Hebrew word game meaning "the nature of things", or "naturally"). This one was written by Mia Elsar and Dr. Dani Kerem and its subject was Whaling. One can read part of the Hebrew article here.


Thanks to Mia and Dani for writing the article.

Thanks to the following organizations for their contributed pictures:


photographed by Aviad Scheinin

Another dolphin sighting, near Netanya.

Yesterday, 3/8/2006, after over two months of "dry season", we had a successful survey on IMMRAC-1 boat. After 35 minutes at sea, four miles west of Netanya, we met two common bottlenose dolphins, mother and calf. The calf was very curious and energetic; the mother did not approach the boat and looked skinny. We stayed with them for over an hour and left in order to search for more dolphin groups around trawling vessels which fished not far from our position. Behind the first trawling boat, Gal-Oz, we found a single common bottlenose dolphin. It made 5 minute long dives between each surfacing and after about 10 minutes, left the vessel and was lost for sight. There were no sightings around the other trawling vessels.

Many thanks to the experienced crew: Ya'ara, Ma'ayan, Meytal, Neta and Aviad. And special thanks to Dovrat for the logistic help.



Dolphin sighting near Bat-Yam

Around 20 dolphins were seen on Wednesday, 2/8/2006, at 19:50, 2 miles west of Bat Yam. According to the fisherman who sighted the group, Max, it seems this was a group of either striped or common dolphins. These species are not common in our waters but have been sighted 181 times since 1993.

Many thanks to Max for the report.



Monthly meeting - 28.7.06

Our monthly meeting is scheduled for the coming Friday, as usual in the upstairs class, at 14:00 in Mevo'ot Yam, Michmoret.
First-time arrivals will be met near our container headquarters.
The main event of the agenda will be Amir Perelberg's talk about his Doctoral research , to be followed by a committee meeting as per Aviad's message.

You are all invited!!


Rare Whales Can Live to Nearly 200, Eye Tissue Reveals.

Scientists have looked into the eyes of rare bowhead whales and learned that some of them can outlive humans by generations with at least one male pushing 200 years old.

You can read the full article here.



Hunters kill a whale in front of tourists in Norway

Around 80 tourists from all around the world participated in a whale watching cruise. A local fishing boat arrived to the area in order to hunt the whale. The tourists were horrified at the sight of this horrible killing.

Full article in Hebrew can be seen in YNET

photographed by Boaz Lipner

June, 29th 2006 –

Eco-tourism and dolphins in the Red Sea

On the 29th of June, another successful diving safari (run by Ilan Vered), took place in the areas of Ras Muhamed National Park and the Straits of Tiran.

The safari included lectures, presented by IMMRAC volunteer Daphna Feingold, on various topics: The Red Sea region, marine mammals in the Red sea, IMMRAC research and marine conservation.

During the 4 day Safari, at least 2 groups of dolphins were sighted on each day. Overall, there were 10 sightings along 4 days of 3 different dolphin species: Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus), common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus).

One unique sighting occurred in the area of Shaab Ali, in the Gulf of Suez and included over 25 Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins. The group included many mothers and calves. The group approached the divers while snorkeling in the area and it was noticed that one mature female was missing half her dorsal fin. The shape of the healed wound looked as if caused by propeller or perhaps by fishing gear. Never-the-less, she was seen swimming with her calf and with the rest of the group with no apparent difficulty.

Another interesting sighting was of a group of 5 common bottlenose dolphins who were seen foraging near the Jackson Reef, Straits of Tiran.

Many thanks to:

a) The  Safari divers

b) The Bedouin crew of the "Sea Queen 1" boat, especially Amar, the zodiac handler, who quickly learned how to maneuver the boat alongside the dolphins without disturbing them.

c) And to Boaz Lipner, the Safari instructor for taking photos of 2 of the bottlenose dolphins in Tiran.

For more information regarding dolphin research in the Red Sea, please contact Daphna Feingold



June, 22nd 2006 –

Dolphin sighting in the Straits of Tiran, Red Sea

On the 22nd of June 2006, a 3 day diving safari (run by Ilan Vered took place in the Straits of Tiran.

On the second day (23/6), while coming up from the morning dive, the divers encountered a group of over 30 Stenella (most probably spotted) dolphins.

The dolphin group was seen from the zodiac in the area of the Gordon Reef (the southernmost reef in Tiran).

Thanks to Assaf Rogel, Safari diving instructor, for this report.


photos courtesy of Assaf Lazarus

June, 4th 2006 –

Excellent dolphin sighting near Nuweba, Northern Red Sea

During the last Shavuot holiday, 4/6/2006, students from the Israeli Maritime College participated in a sailing venture in the area of Nuweba, Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat, Sinai.

Around 9:00 AM they encountered a big group (over 50) of pantropical spotted dolphins(Stenella attenuata). The group, which included mothers and calves, escorted the boat for over 30 minutes.

This is the most common dolphin species in the Red Sea and was sighted by IMMRAC researchers in the area of Sharm El Sheikh and the Gulf of Eilat on various occasions.

Thanks to Nadav Mizrachi and Assaf Lazarus for this report and special thanks to Assaf for the wonderful photos!

May there be many more such sightings.



July, 2nd 2006 –

Dolphin Observation Report from


On July 2nd, a group of 5 common bottlenose dolphins was spotted in Maramaris, Turkey by Aviad Scheinin, IMMRAC's chairman.

 Thanks Aviad for the report!


June, 29th 2006 –

 Rescue and Rehabilitation of a Sea Turtle

On Wednesday, June 28th, at 1pm, a small brown sea turtle, about 5-7 years old, was spotted at the area of the Haifa power station of Israel Electric Corporation. The turtle was swimming within the cooling water trenches, which are conducting sea water for cooling of the turbines. The turtle passed the first barrier in the trench and was captured by the second barrier, just in front of a rake that strains the dirt. The staff of Israel Electric Corp. Biological Section contacted INNPPA (Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority) and the Fishing Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. An inspector from INNPPA and IMMRAC's Oz Goffman arrived at the scene at around 4pm, equipped with a five-meter stick from the Fishing Department. This stick with a hook and a net basket at its tip, is usually used for fish collection in fishponds and from within fishing ships' nets. Yaniv Levy from the biological section of the Israel electric corp., captured the turtle on the third trial. The turtle was taken out of water and was transferred to the turtle rehabilitation center in the Nautical School Mevo'ot-Yam in Michmoret.


June, 21st 2006 –

With a Little Help from Friends, an Amazing Story

On Tuesday, June 20th, at 9:30am, south of the Ashkelon National Park beach, there was a sighting of 4 dolphins, about 80-100 meters from the shoreline. A large dolphin seemed to be in trouble and three smaller ones were seemingly pushing him with their noses towards the shore. The observation lasted about half an hour. A lifeguard from the nearest station was alerted but upon arrival, failed to spot the dolphins. Guy Shunek from the Ministry of Agriculture arrived later at the scene to check if a dolphin's body was washed to shore. No beaching in the area has since been reported. 

Thanks to Vadim for the report!

photo courtesy of Omer Armoza

 Sindy the dolphin died in the Dolphin Reef (Eilat)

On Sunday (18/6/2006) the dominant male in the dolphin-reef, Sindy, died and was buried at sea. Sindy was the oldest bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in the Reef, brought to Eilat from the Black Sea in 1990. His body was found in the morning, floating on the water close to his favorite spot - the ramp where swimmers and diving instructors enter the water. The Dolphin-Reef crew took his body out to sea and there parted from him. Sindy is estimated to have been around 40 years old and probably died of old age. Two of his off-springs are due to be born in August. The oldest remaining male is only one year old and may take 10 years or more to reach sexual maturity.

The full article (in Hebrew) may be read at: YNET


Fin Whale in Haifa Port (archive) – photo courtesy of Sara-Lee Granit

June, 6th 2006 – Cetacean Treaty

About 90 days ago, the American Secretary of State asked the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs that Israel join the International Whaling Commission, so that it can support the American position on not relaxing current whaling restrictions. The request was passed for comments to various governmental ministries: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel Ministry of the Environment and Israel Ministry of Defense. The request sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was directed and checked by Dr. Dan Kerem, and Dr. Oz Goffman of IMMRAC, who concluded that there is no reason why Israel should not join the commission for the purpose of voting on this important issue.

Since all cetaceans are protected wild species in Israel, and since there is no Israeli whaling or whale trade, Mr. Haim Anjony (Head, Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture) adopted the conclusion and on behalf of the Ministry stated that he sees no objection in Israel joining the commission.


You can read the full Hebrew article in NRG


Photo courtesy of Aviad Scheinin

31.5.06 – Successful Dolphin Survey

A successful dolphin survey took place onboard our research boat IMMRAC1. Within 19 minutes of departure, 2 miles west from Michmoret, Yossi spotted two dolphins: a mother and a calf. Three trawlers were fishing nearby and the dolphins interacted with one of them for a short time. We followed them for two hours after which we left them trying to seek for other groups, which unfortunately we did not find.


Thanks for the crew: Aviad, Yossi, Meytal, Denis, Yair and Or.




25.5.06 – A dolphin was captured in a net

At 9am a dolphin was accidentally caught in a trawler's net in the Palmachim area. Unfortunately, the fisherman tried but failed to contact IMMRAC during the incident and the dolphin's body was therefore thrown overboard.

Hopefully, future reports will be transmitted in real-time, as was the case at the beginning of this month by another trawl-skipper, so that we can make the most out of these unfortunate accidents.


Photo courtesy of Oz Goffman

25.5.06 – our monthly meeting tomorrow

On Friday, our monthly meeting will take place. Please note that the meeting will take place in the Maritime Center classroom in Michmoret anchorage.


Aviad Scheinin will describe IMMRAC's cooperation with and participation in the Med-Red Rally and will present amazing observations from the sail. Dr. Dani Kerem will go over the sampling procedures of dead stranded dolphins and whales.

We'll, of course, also brief about last month's events including impressive dolphin encounters on the one hand and, unfortunately, two mortal events of entangled dolphins by trawler nets on the other hand.

And lastly, we'll have a toast for IMMRAC's general manager Dr. Oz Goffman who last month earned his Ph.D. degree


You're all invited. Don't forget to bring some refreshments!



Photo courtesy of Aviad Scheinin



24.5.06 - Successful Dolphin Survey

We had a successful dolphin survey today: we went out early in the morning from Herzliyah onboard Sea-Gal Yacht Club's yacht. This time we again decided to sail southbound due, to the last successful surveys. And indeed, 2.5 miles off the Palmachim seashore, we encountered a dolphin aside the "Bilu" trawler. Bilu reported seeing a dolphin at the same area the day before. After taking photos from all possible angles, we decided to sail northbound. Five minutes later we encountered a 7-dolphin group: 5 adults, a juvenile and a calf. The dolphins were seen in the vicinity of the "Deli-Dag" trawler, seemingly engaged in foraging around the towed net.

To sum up, it was a very successful survey!

Thanks to Sea-Gal Yacht Club for their big support!

Thanks to the big crew that took part in the survey. We dedicate this survey to Yuli who celebrated her birthday with us and especially with the dolphins. Congratulations Yuli!



Updates from the sea

Sunday, January 15th, 15:45 pm –Tom reported on 6 dolphins bow-riding for half an hour, 3 Km west of Ashdod Marina.

                                   16:30 pm – Fishermen reported on a dolphin north of Ashdod port, and two more dolphins further west, 30 minutes after.

Monday, January 16th, 16:00 pm – Eliana Ratner reported on one bottlenose dolphin, 50-100 meters offshore from Neve-Yam beach, apparently feeding in association with sea birds.

Tuesday, January 17th, 07:30 am – A fisherman (name) saw a small dolphin swimming 600 m north to Olga, heading south. Depth: 10 meters.

We thank all reporters!


IMMRAC – Sea-Gal co-operation is going up

As a continuation to the success and growing demand of 'dolphin watching', we started a series of meetings with Sea-Gal's Families Club about ' The world of the dolphin'.

Twenty children with their parents attended the first successful meeting on Saturday the 14th. At least two more meetings are scheduled, along with reports about surveys full of observations

For watching a video-clip from one of the surveys, click here



4.1.06 - Chrissy Levy is coming for a visit to Israel in mid-January.

Chrissy is working in the rehabilitation center of Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida Chrissy will give a lecture on dolphin rescue and rehabilitation and practice first-aid regulations together with our rescue team.

Meeting dates will soon be published – Don't miss!!!

1.1.06 – Hot updates from the sea…

07:30 – The Fisherman Adam Kotzer reported on an 8-9 meter-long whale, swimming  out side of the Kishon Port. Two hours later, another fisherman, Mizrahi Matzliah, reported on 4 dolphins swimming and foraging between Haifa and the Kishon ports.

12:00 – IMMRAC team, with the help of "Pamcko LTD" yacht, went out looking for the whale, but up until 16:30 it was not located, although we enjoyed accompanying a juvenile dolphin that was foraging in the area…..

18:30 – A report from the Israeli Electricity Company in Ashkelon on  a dolphin with a 30 meters rope tyed to its tail, swimming among the coal pier poles. The maritime police arrived in a short time but did not find the dolphin.

Happy New Year to you and to your families, a year full of healthy and strong marine mammals, a year of happiness, joy and love!!!