Government of Gujarat is going to undertake a comprehensive study to explore reasons behind the sudden increase in the number of whale sharks around the coast from Veraval to Sutrapada. The move has been made possible by the mapping of the rescue of these creatures along the coast.
SC Pant, who serves as the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), explained the details of the study. Mr. Pant said that analysis of the data showed that most of the whale sharks rescued were from the region between Veraval and Sutrapada.
The study will try to find out why these slow-moving whale sharks are largely found in this area. Is it the composition of the water, availability of food or some other reason which suits their habitat?
The model of rescue and release of these white sharks with the help of Forest Department officials and the local fishing community has been very successful in Gujarat and is now being adopted by Maharashtra.
A seminar was also held on the same subject was held in Maharashtra State and was attended by top forest department officials from Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the government is contemplating giving compensation to fishermen who had their nets damaged by whale sharks. It was stated by the Fisheries Commissioner, Ram Shankar Naik, who was the Chief Guest at the International Whale Shark Day celebrations.
The event was organized by EGREE foundation that is a joint initiative of the Indian Government and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP). The event took place at the JNTUK Alumni Auditorium on Sunday.
Gujarat serves as an example of protecting whale sharks by banning sale and export of meat. Fishermen are also compensated for nets left at sea by fishermen when they found the shark in their net.
Whale Sharks are found in the tropical oceans like Sri Lanka, Maldives, Philippines, and Mexico. These are very docile creatures and never attack divers. They feed on plankton and happen to be the largest non-mammalian vertebrate. Despite being harmless, they are hunted for their highly prized fins and meat.