Whale Shark Day 2014

Whale Shark Day, Sunday, August 31, 2014

Whale Shark Day is celebrated Annually on the last day of August. This is a very significant day for the Southern Environmental Association, (SEA), as this Organization has become well known Nationally and Internationally, because of it’s geographical location and it’s association with the Whale Shark.

The Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) is the World’s largest fish, with a maximum length of sixty-five(65) feet and a weight of seventy-five thousand (75,000) pounds. This massive sea creature is found in warm waters around the World. They are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Gladden Spit & Silk Cayes Marine Reserve (GSSCMR), located some thirty six kilometers east of Placencia Village(Belize), on the largest Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere, has become World known because of the annual visits made by these famous Whale Sharks.

Gladden Spit (the Elbow) name derived from its shape, on the eastern edge of the Barrier reef, is one of Belize’s best Spawning Aggregation sites. This site has been a fishermen haven for decades as a result of the huge aggregation of various species of fish (as many as 30) including snappers and groupers. As the snappers aggregate for spawning annually during the full moons in March, April, May and June: so do the Whale Sharks, but with a different motive. Although the Whale Shark is the World’s largest fish, it feeds on the oceans’ tiniest creatures such as plankton, tiny fishes, fish spawns and crustaceans.

Whale Shark Tourism has become a very popular activity in Belize during the months of March to June annually. Tour Operators from Robert’s Grove, Splash, Turtle Inn, Isla Marisol, Sea Horse, Hatchet Caye, Quest Adventure, Hamanasi , Singing Sands and many smaller tour operators eagerly anticipate the Whale Shark season, so they can show off their great Shark, and earn some needed tourism dollars.

You can swim with the Whale Shark despite its massive size. It is very gentle by nature. Excursions involving swimming, snorkeling and diving (scuba) with Whale Sharks is conducted in Belize.

Give yourself a special treat in Belize on your next travel. Include a Whale Shark Snorkel or Dive at Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, in March, April, May or June 2015.

                Happy Whale Shark Day, 2014. May YOU see one in 2015.

Whale Shark feeding

Whale Shark feeding

Quick Facts about the Whale Shark:

  1. World’s largest fish.
  2. Eat very tiny creatures: plankton, snapper eggs, etc.
  3. Whale Sharks are like sting rays because they are cartilaginous, instead of bone skeleton, skeleton is made of cartilage.
  4. Female Whale sharks are usually larger than males.
  5.  Whale Sharks are found in warm waters.
  6.  Each Whale Shark has a unique pattern of spots and stripes.
  7.  They are migratory and may travel thousands of miles. (one tagged traveled over 8,000 miles.)
  8.  You can swim safely with Whale Sharks.
  9.  Whale Sharks may live over 100 years.
  10.  Whale Shark populations are vulnerable.

                   Steps taken in Belize to protect the Whale Sharks.

  1.  No Flash cameras allowed for picture taking.
  2.  Stay at least 20 feet away from the Whale Shark.
  3.  All vessels must stay a minimum of 50 feet away from whale shark.
  4.  No chasing, touching or disturbing of whale sharks.
  5.  Vessel engines in zone must be at idle speed and not travel at more than 2 knots.
  6.  All vessels out of zone by 5:00 PM.
  7.  Divers not allowed to dive more than 80 feet deep in whale shark zone.
  8.  Tour Guides are required to give Tourists thorough briefing before entering the area.
  9.  Captains must have special licenses to take vessels into whale shark zone.
  10.   All vessels MUST fly “Divers Down Flags”, when divers are diving in zone.

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Main Office:

Placencia Village
Stann Creek District
Belize, Central America

Phone: (501) 523-3377
Fax: (501) 523-3395
Email: info@seabelize.org

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