Vast distances travelled
in & out of protected areas
is one of the biggest
One of the oldest and most majestic of creatures in the ocean may well be a memory for divers. Commercially fished for meat, oil and fins or being caught in ropes, nets, and hooks; reaching sexual maturity at around 30 years and infrequent reproduction, the whale shark chances of replenishment are slim.
Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is located in one of those protected areas and are fortunate to have these beautiful fish visit their islands. They have been working hard with conservation groups worldwide to pass their knowledge to divers. With the Travel Foundation UK they have put together an excellent information pack, spreading the word is made easy.
As a diving community we have had our effect too, grateful for diver assistance with disentanglement and for fighting to prevent their extinction but collisions with boats and unregulated tourism are also affecting their habitats where they feel most safe.
With so little known one of the first steps has been to identify individuals. The identification program, uses the unique dots of the whale shark (specifically a small section above the left pectoral fin) as a fingerprint. MWSRP has designed a code of conduct map to help do it without causing any harm or stress.
For video of Joshua WS031 - M-044 : watch video
For more sightings of Joshua WS031 - M-044 : ECOCEAN database