A recent report the by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature – the agency tasked with identifying and tracking species at risk of extinction – just released a report indicating that the whale shark , the worlds largest fish and one of the ocean’s most emblematic fishes, has been identified as Endangered, having declined by %50 in the past 75 years, which has earned these gentle giants an increasingly common label only applied to those species facing rapid and widespread declines throughout their range.
It’s true we are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction, a time when species are disappearing off the face of the Earth faster than ever. Thankfully, there’s still time for the whale shark. You might ask yourself, “what can we do?”
Here’s some tips:
- Become a whale shark advocate: The more people who know about their status and decline the better chance whale sharks will gain the protection they so desperately need.
- Studies are finding that whale shark declines are in part due to entrapment by fishing nets and ship strikes: whale sharks tend to feed at the edges of feeding frenzies that often attract target fish species such as tuna. If tuna or other predatory game fish are apart of your diet, do the research and ensure that your dollars are supporting sustainable fishing practices.
- Give whale sharks there space: It’s true, there are posotive examples of sustainable eco-tourism. Yet, in the case of whale shark eco-tourism, there are widespread reports and studies of eco-tourism having a negative impacts on whale sharks around the globe.
- Send a letter to your political representatives or sign a petition: Let them know that whale sharks deserve heightened protection.