The World's Largest Fish Needs Our Help!

By Zac Wolf (Own work;)
[CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know?

Whale Sharks are a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known extant fish species. The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate.

  • Can weigh as much as 67,938 pounds
  • Can grow over 65ft long, but their an average length is 23ft
  • They lack rib cages
  • Their mouths can be 4.9ft wide
  • They have 300-350 rows of tiny teeth, yet they only eat plankton!
Whale Shark Eating

By Arturo de Frias (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Friendly Giants

Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride, although this practice is discouraged by shark scientists and conservationists because of the disturbance to the sharks. Younger whale sharks are gentle and can play with divers.

By Sylke Rohrlach from Sydney (Whale shark (Rhincodon typus))
[CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Healthy Shark

Whale Shark Eating

by Arturo de Frias Marques (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There is currently no robust estimate of the global whale shark population. The species is considered endangered by the IUCN due to the impacts of fisheries, bycatch losses, and vessel strikes, combined with its long life span and late maturation.

In 1998, the Philippines banned all fishing, selling, importing, and exporting of whale sharks for commercial purposes, followed by India in May 2001, and Taiwan in May 2007.

This species was also added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2003 to regulate the international trade of live specimens and its parts