Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Whale Sharks

The whale shark will soon be back at the Mexican Caribbean.
  • Its scientific name is: Rhincodon typus
  • It is considered the world's largest fish. According to scientists it can reach up to 14 meters long.
  • It is locally known as domino fish because the color of its body is gray or dark blue on the top with circular spots, horizontal or vertical light lines, and a white belly.
  • Unlike other sharks its mouth is at the front of his broad head and spans the entire width of its body.
  • Because of their feeding behavior whale sharks are species with a slow movement, it feeds with a suction method by filtering large quantities of water and retaining a wide variety of plankton, small fish and crustaceans.
  • The whale shark has no teeth so it has developed in its gills some internal filters which help to retain their food.
  • His reproductive method is ovoviviparous, fertilization is internal,  and the egg grows inside the mother until birth, when they are released to hatch.
  • This species is found in all tropical and warm seas except the Mediterranean Sea. Whale Sharks are pelagic, highly migratory, and they feed on coastal waters; therfore their appearances are highly seasonal and are related to the presence and growth of zooplankton. Due to this reason we have the opportunity to see them in Mexico, as the Yucatán Peninsula is an area prone to the growth of plankton for its hot temperatures, which is one key factor  on contributing to the  acceleration of plankton in specific areas.
  • Usually a solitary species, but massive clusters have been spotted; more than 100 individuals have been counted from aerial views!
  • Remember it is very important to do this activity with a responsible tourist operator, because this snorkeling trip has become very popular in recent years and has resulted in positive and negative consequences if not done with responsibility.
  •  An example of a positive consequence is that local fishermen now instead of killing the sharks for their fins, they protect them as they realized the economic value that this resouce can be alive.  
  •  In turn, a negative consequence is that unless there is a control many boats and tourists gather at the same time and can hurt the whale sharks. Therefore, to continue interacting and enjoying the presence of these magnificent animals there is the need to have a good management of the resource, good regulations, properly enforced and an excelent responsible conduct form all tourists.
Some important rules are:

• Limit the number of boats in the area where the whale shark are.
• It is requested that tourists use biodegradable sunblocks.
• The boat will be at least 5 meters away from the animals.
• Tourists should be at least 2 meters away from the whale shark.
• In the water there will be a guide with a maximum of 2 people.
• Swimming with safety vests is required. The maximum time with the Whale Sharks will be 30 minutes.
• Do not harass the sharks..
• Do not leave trash in the area.

More information:

52 (984) 879 3988

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