[Coral-List] whale shark encounter

Mcguire,Maia Patterson mpmcg at ufl.edu
Tue Aug 11 07:50:43 EDT 2009

I've also heard that there's a whale shark hanging around in the Florida Keys--appears to have some fishing gear entanglement.  Is hanging out around a cut/bridge which is causing some concern for biologists in the area as there is a lot of boat traffic and curious onlookers eager to jump in the water and swim with the critter.  I heard about this a couple of weeks ago, so am not sure if it's still in the area or not.

The state of Florida (FWC) lists the Whale Shark as a "prohibited" species, but that simply refers to protection from harvest or sale.  I cannot find reference to prohibitions against "harassment" of whale sharks as there are for marine mammals. 

The Florida Museum of Natural History has some good information about whale sharks on its site: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/whaleshark/whaleshark.html.


Maia McGuire, PhD
Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent
150 Sawgrass Road
Bunnell, FL 32110
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Steve Mussman [sealab at earthlink.net]
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 8:41 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] whale shark encounter

While diving off Panama City Beach, Fl with students
this past weekend, we had an unexpected encounter with
an extremely amicable whale shark. I'm wondering if
anyone can direct me to information pertaining to
frequency of sightings of this species in this area.
Are there federal or state guidelines relating to
whale shark-diver interactions? This particular fish
seemed to seek contact and repeatedly returned to
initiate interaction.

Steve Mussman
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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