Thursday, December 27, 2007

Whale Sharks-Being Loved To Death?

Gotta hand it to the Australians. While they have quite a few of the best sharks sites on the planet to either cage dive or rodeo sharks in for divers, they still have not quite figured out what to do with their whale sharks.

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean-a quick run over to the good old Shark-Wiki tells us:

"This species, despite its enormous size (40 feet), does not pose any significant danger to humans. It is a frequently cited example when educating the public about the popular misconceptions of all sharks as "man-eaters". They are actually quite gentle and can be playful with divers. There are unconfirmed reports of sharks lying still, upside down on the surface to allow divers to scrape parasites and other organisms from their bellies. Divers and snorkellers can swim with this giant fish without any risk apart from unintentionally being hit by the shark's large tail fin."

So why is it that Australia enacted a series of rules and regulations that almost prohibit diving with these magnificent critters?

"This (code) includes a limit on the number of people in the water at any one time with the sharks, minimum distances that boats and snorkellers must keep from the sharks, and definitely no touching of the sharks".

The ONLY thing that will save the whale shark and sharks in general for the future-is divers seeing these animals in person. Too many sharks worldwide are being hunted for just their fins and the whale shark is on the top of that list. Divers who encounter these animals are 80% more likely to want to voice concern to local governments over issues relating to sharks.

Food, or soup for thought.

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