Whale Shark


  • The rare rescue mission led by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department is an exemplary story of marine conservation like whale shark with the active involvement of the local community.

Key Details

  • In the Andhra Pradesh coast, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam and Nizampatnam are major shark landing areas.
  • Blacktip sharks, bull sharks, pelagic and big-eye thresher shark, smooth and scalloped hammerhead, and tiger sharks are the species that are hunted frequently on these coasts.

    Whale Shark
    Credit: TH
  • Of these, the smooth and scalloped hammerhead are classified as threatened species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Scalloped hammerheads are categorised on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered.

About Whale Shark

  • The world’s largest fish species.
  • This shark is listed as endangered in the IUCN list and protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act.
  • Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the world’s largest fish. They feed on plankton and travel massive distances to find food to sustain their huge size, and for reproduction.
  • Found in all the tropical oceans of the world, whale sharks have white spotted colouration which make these gentle giants easy to distinguish.
  • They are popular with snorkellers and divers at sites where they aggregate off the coast.
  • The presence of whale sharks indicates the availability of plankton and the overall health of the oceans.
  • While not exactly known, the maximum size of a whale shark could be as large as 20 metres.
  • Gujarat has the maximum density of whale shark population in the Indo-pacific region.
  • It was in 2001 that, in a conservation attempt, whale sharks were included in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, rendering the capture and killing of the fish a cognisable offence.
  • It was the first-ever species to be protected under this Act, after which the Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) and speartooth shark (Glyphis glyphis) were added to it.

Source: TH

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