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  • 02 September, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

International Whale Shark Day

International Whale Shark Day

Save the Whale Shark Campaign was recently launched in Mangaluru by the Delhi-based nonprofit Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) along the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Lakshadweep.

International Whale Shark Day is celebrated on August 30, 2022, with the slogan "The Future of Sharks: Guardians of Our Seas."

Save the Whale Campaign

  • In cooperation with the Forest and Fisheries Departments of Karnataka, Kerala, and the Lakshadweep administration, the campaign will run along the coastal regions of these three states as well as the Lakshadweep islands.
  • The effort also attempts to lessen the number of fishermen who accidentally entangle whale sharks in fishing nets while releasing them.
  • For further conservation efforts, a mobile application has been created to track whale shark sightings and rescues.

Key Points related to Whale Shark

  • The largest fish on Earth and a foundational species in marine ecosystems is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus).
  • It can reach a maximum length of 18 meters and a maximum weight of 21 tonnes.
  • They are ovoviviparous, which means they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs, and they can become sexually mature at about age 10.
  • Habitat: Fish, squid, and other tiny animals are the main food sources for whale sharks, which live in tropical oceans.
  • India: The whale shark may be found all along the coastline of India.
  • However, the Gujarat coast is home to the largest whale shark gathering.
  • Beyond Gujarat: WTI, with the help of the IUCN, undertook a survey along the west coast (excluding Gujarat) during 2012–2013 and discovered that the Lakshadweep Islands had the second-highest number of whale shark sightings after the Gujarat coast.
  • Additionally, most reports of whale shark strandings and landings come from Kerala.
  • Status: Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List, Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972.
  • Largely Depleted according to the IUCN Green Status Assessment.
  • Getting unintentionally tangled in fishing nets is a major danger facing these plankton feeders.
  • Most fishermen are aware that whale sharks can be caught in their Protection: To reduce this mortality, make sure that whale sharks caught in fishing nets are released right away.
  • Sensitization of the key target group, which is the fishermen, is required for this.

Initiatives:

  • For the past 20 years, WTI has been operating a program in Gujarat that has allowed fishermen to release 852 whale sharks into the Arabian Sea.

Goal:

  • The primary objective of this project is to eliminate whale sharks’ accidental catch in fishing nets by voluntary whale shark release.
  • The marine fishers in these two states and on the island of Lakshadweep are the focus of this program nets.
  • However, they use trawls to search the ocean floor for grouper, mackerel, shrimp, and lobster.
  • It's always possible that they'll unintentionally catch a whale shark as well.
  • Rising Plastic Debris: The increase in plastic waste in the oceans is a significant environmental issue with far-reaching effects.
  • This filter-feeding megafauna is especially vulnerable because of its feeding habits.
  • Protection: To reduce this mortality, make sure that whale sharks caught in fishing nets are released right away.
  • Sensitization of the key target group, which is the fishermen, is required for this.

Also, Read - Rising Greenhouse Gas

Source: The Hindu


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