Tag: whale sharks

New study reveals whale shark secrets

Science helps inform conservation

Little by little, giant whale sharks are giving up some of their secrets. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

Ocean biologists are starting to learn about the world’s largest fish, and the information should help efforts to protect endangered whale sharks.

Giant whale sharks, up to 60 feet long, feed mostly on tiny drifting animals and small fish like sardines. To find enough food, they endlessly cruise vast reaches of ocean to find dense swarms of prey. The learn more, scientists have been tracking the whale sharks in the eastern tropical Pacific, finding that they spend most of their time along ocean fronts, which are dynamic boundaries of cold and warm water masses that stimulate life. Continue reading “New study reveals whale shark secrets”

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Oceans: Whale sharks get a little love from tuna fishermen

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Whale sharks are getting some protection from purse-seining in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
New fishing regs protect world’s largest fish from harmful tuna netting practices

Staff Report

FRISCO — Whale sharks in the Pacific Ocean are getting a little help from an international fishing group that recently banned the practice of placing purse-seine tuna nets around the world’s largest fish.

Whale sharks are so docile that humans often swim alongside them without concern, snapping photographs of their incredible size. But it is exactly their enormous bulk that made them an accidental target of commercial fishermen, who know that tuna like to gather in schools around whale sharks (as well as other large floating objects).

Tuna fleets often use fish-aggregating devices to attract tuna to an area, making it easier to find and encircle the tuna in the purse seine nets much more efficient. When fishermen deploy nets around whale sharks to capture tuna swimming beneath it, the encircled whale sharks are often caught in the net, where they are injured or die. Continue reading “Oceans: Whale sharks get a little love from tuna fishermen”

Biodiversity: Whale sharks gather in Gulf of Mexico

Whale sharks gather by the hundreds to feed in nutrient-rich coastal waters off Mexico. PHOTO BY OSCAR REYES.

Largest-ever aggregation of giant fish discovered off the Yucatán Peninsula

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Far from being solitary behemoths of the sea, whale sharks sometimes gather in large schools to feed on fish eggs or tiny shrimp, according to recently published research by the Smithsonian Institution.

Whale sharks are the largest fish species, but they’ve been less studied than many other types of fish. Until recently, biologists had only seen them gather in groups of a few dozen, but in the past few years, researchers have learned that they can be gregarious, gathering by the hundreds to feed of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Continue reading “Biodiversity: Whale sharks gather in Gulf of Mexico”