Whale Shark’s Bounty: Innovative use of Radio Tagging Captures Stunning Behavior of World’s Largest Fish
Scientific expedition in Indonesia tags 30 whale sharks for the first time with radio-frequency identification tags; leads to stunning, viral video of whale sharks sucking fish out of fishing nets
Last month, the Cendrawasih Bay National Park Authority along with experts from Conservation International (CI), WWF-Indonesia, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute (HSWRI) and the State University of Papua recently completed the first expedition to tag whale sharks with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags in Cenderwasih Bay, part in the far eastern reaches of Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape – a marine area over 180,000 square kilometers in Indonesia, which Conservation International along with The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund work with government authorities, private organizations and local people to conserve the diversity and abundance of marine life and the promote human well-being.
“The bagan fishers in Cendrawasih Bay, as in most areas of Indonesia, regard the whale sharks as good luck and as friends, but overly excited whale sharks have swum into the fishers’ nets and become trapped,” Erdmann said.
“They understand the value whale sharks bring ecologically and economically in regard to the divers that come to see them in the wild. The fishers and the park authority are proactively trying to find a solution to prevent the sharks from being entangled, including possibly redesigning their nets.”