New IUCN Red List assessments reveal that growing human pressures on whale sharks, winghead sharks and Bornean orangutans are putting these species at an increasing risk of extinction. Whale sharks and winghead sharks are now listed as Endangered and Bornean orangutans as Critically Endangered – only one step from going extinct.
Tuna and other fish species may congregate around whale sharks, but new rule reduces the chance that the giant sea creatures could get caught in nets targeting those species.
Whale sharks are among the largest living fish in the world -- weighing up to 40,000 pounds and 40 feet in length. They are also so docile that humans often swim with them without concern, snapping photographs of their incredible size.
Each June and July near the full moon, the northern Gulf of Mexico hosts a mysterious gathering of whale sharks.
Dozens of the hulking black sharks with white spots glide about with mouths agape as they skim the water’s surface during a 12-hour tuna egg buffet of sorts.
A decade ago, records of these unusual gatherings existed only in fishermen’s tales.
Scientists have spent the past decade piecing together an understanding of the fish’s existence in the northern Gulf and tracking these gatherings that have also been reported in other parts of the world.
Asia and Pacific nations agreed at a meeting in the Philippines on Wednesday to take steps to protect whale sharks in a victory for the world's largest fish, officials said.
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission nations agreed that tuna fishers must stop setting their nets around the vulnerable giants in order to catch smaller fish that gather underneath them, said Palau fishing official Nanette Malsol.
Divers and non-divers alike attending the London International Dive Show (#LIDS 2012) this weekend are in for a treat as marine ecologist and whale shark specialist Dr Simon J Pierce will be giving presentations with Project AWARE about whale shark conservation and ways to give sharks a fighting chance.