In the ten years since 2005 the already steep decline in the population of whale sharks around the world has worsened, with total numbers falling by 50% overall. This gentle giant of the oceans is now catalogued as ‘endangered’ in the Red List of Threatened Species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – THAT IS JUST TWO STEPS AWAY FROM EXTINCTION IN THE WILD !
Our partners Simon Pierce of MMF and LAMAVE have been performing invaluable research into the behaviour and movements of the local whale shark population in the Philippines. An extensive tagging programme has exposed the high risk facing these iconic creatures when their natural movement patterns bring them within close proximity to active whale shark fisheries in Southern China. This together with unsustainable tuna fishing practices, like ‘purse seine’ nets that indiscriminately trap all sea life, are among the biggest factors in the steep decline in species numbers.
We can help reverse this trend by getting involved with ecotourism initiatives that promote properly guided swimming expeditions with whale sharks and through boycotting seafood that is caught by anything other than sustainable methods, such as rod and line. LAMAVE and MMF need our support to continue with these initiatives and Ocean Giants Trust is proud to be a supporter. If you would like to help to fund this research and conservation project you can donate here.