Whale Sharks

Whalesharks-4Whale sharks are indeed sharks, despite their confusing name. They are the largest fish in the sea, which is where the name originates. Researchers predict that whale sharks can get up to 20m long and live to 100 years old. The whale sharks that are seen in Mozambique are primarily 5-8m long, immature and about 75% male! They also seem to be highly connective along the coastline from Zavora up to the Bazaruto Archipelago, however the recognized population has also been seen in South Africa and Tanzania!

Not much is known about the whale shark population here in Mozambique, including where these docile creatures go to and come from when they are younger, and once they reach maturity. Photo-identification, laser photogrammetry, satellite tagging and genetic sampling are all aspects of the research that occurs in Mozambique to try and learn more about the popular animals. Mozambique has one of the largest year round ‘hotspots’ for viewing these animals in the whole world, over 600 individuals have been identified, and this creates a large incentive for tourism. These giants of the sea are completely harmless to humans as they feed only on the microscopic plankton in the water and one study in Belize showed that one whale shark during one year of it’s life brought the country $300,000 from tourism.

Sadly, this hotspot is the only one in the world that is not protected by the government, so in Mozambique researchers push their findings to the government to show them the importance of this animal and give them incentive to protect them legally or through a marine protected area. Below you will find research updates and findings from Mozambique. Contributing authors can include, but are not limited to Dr. Simon Pierce, PhD candidate, Clare Prebble and researchers Tom Horton and Hannah Darrin.

Spotlight on Research in the Indian Ocean.

WIOMSA The Western Indo-Pacific stretches from Thailand to East Africa and the Red Sea, and has distinct fauna – with a quarter of its fish species thought to be different from the broader Indo-Pacific. The Western Indian Ocean is the largest biogeographic province in this region, but among the least studied of the world’s seas, posing a great challenge to effective conservation of its biodiversity…. Read more »

Species+ Developed by CITES and CMS: Look up your favorite animal!

Source CITES Species+ is a new online resource providing comprehensive information on globally protected species. It includes all species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), as well as those included in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. Species+ can be accessed at www.speciesplus.net What is Species+?… Read more »

Manta Alfredi

Kenya’s Whale Sharks – Born Free & Staying Free

Source: Born Free Foundation Plans to create an artificial marine enclosure off the southern coast of Kenya and stock it with wild-caught specimens of the world’s largest fish – the whale shark – as a tourism attraction have been comprehensively rejected by the government of Kenya. The judgement delivered by the National Environmental Management Authority of Kenya cited in their determination that the proposed project:… Read more »

Shark fin and bluefin tuna banned from official banquets

By Gabriela Raffaele editorial@fis.com www.fis.com The Hong Kong government has committed to supporting sustainability by banning shark fin and bluefin tuna from its official menus. Concerned about the unsustainability and ecologically unfriendly methods of catching shark fin, Pacific bluefin tuna and of harvesting black moss, the government has decided to scrape them off their official entertainment functions in an effort to set an example and… Read more »

Whale shark mapping: scientists uncover global distribution for the largest fish in the world

by Shreya Dasgupta Polka-dotted and striped. Massive but docile. That’s the whale shark for you – the largest fish and shark in the world. But despite being major tourist attractions, the lives of these awe-inspiring creatures of the ocean remain far from being demystified. However, a team of researchers from Australia may now have some answers to where these whale sharks (Rhinocodon typus) occur. They… Read more »

Shark Diving Guidelines – For Divers

by Shark Angels Shark diving needs to be practiced intelligently. Both dive operators and divers should realize they bear responsibility when they choose to offer or partake in shark diving. Both parties must take the responsibility very seriously and take measures to ensure that no unnecessary accidents or incidents occur – to the sharks or the divers. This is critical in protecting the few places… Read more »

How to Love a Whale Shark

By Ferris Jabr In Scientific American Every year thousands of tourists descend on congregations of the world’s largest fish. What is the cost of all that attention? As the sea churned all around us, we leaned over the edge of the boat to get a better look. Dozens of dorsal fins cruised here and there; somewhat menacing half-moon tails thrashed about; and, now and then, a colossal… Read more »

Marine Conservation in Mozambique – July 2013

Welcome to the July 2013 edition of Marine Conservation in Mozambique. If you are not already on our mailing list please subscribe here. You can also help by forwarding this newsletter to anyone who might be interested in helping us with the conservation of marine life in Mozambique. If you have any stories you’d like featured in March’s newsletter then please email us! Special: Join… Read more »

Into the Deep: Implementing CITES Measures for Commercially-Valuable Sharks and Manta Rays

A report by Victoria Mundy-Taylor and Vicki Crook, Written by Hannah Darrin This is a review of the TRAFFIC report on the implementation of CITES in relation to Mozambique and the Southern African Area. Into the deep: Implementing CITES measures for commercially-valuable sharks and manta rays  was commissioned by the European Union after seven species of marine elasmobranchs were listed on Appendix II of  the Convention on… Read more »

Discovering a New Whale Shark Hotspot… In an Arabian Oil Field?

Written by Marine Megafauna Foundation By Dr Simon Pierce Whale sharks. Oil. Not topics that normally go together in a positive way. So, finding myself on an oil company vessel, in the middle of an oil field, staring out at 100 large whale sharks charging back and forth on the surface, was… unexpected. Unlikely, even. But there I was, 90 km off the coast of Qatar,… Read more »