August 30, 2017 0 Comments

The whale shark is without a doubt one of our favorite fish in the sea.  It also happens to be the biggest!

The gentle giant can grow over 40' long and weigh in at over 50,000 lbs.  They are found in the open waters of the tropical oceans, and estimates put their lifespan around 70 years. Whale sharks have very large mouths and are filter feeders, a feature shared by only two other sharks, the megamouth and basking sharks. They feed almost exclusively on plankton and, despite their intimidating size, are extremely docile and do not pose a threat to humans.

Sadly, whale sharks are listed as endangered on the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species.  They are highly valued on international markets.  Demand for their meat, fins and oil remains a threat to the species, particularly by unregulated fisheries. They are also frequent victims of "bycatch", the accidental capture of non-target species in fishing gear.

Today, we would like to take a moment to draw attention to this species and highlight the risks they face.  If you would like to learn more about whale sharks, or are interested in a responsible whale shark encounter, we would suggest you visit our friends over at the Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center, in Utila, Honduras.

A shout out to Team S.Å.K. member Brad Ryon for the photos!