Our ocean is one of the most, if not the most important aspect of our world. We depend on our seas for so much – food, water (when sterilised), beauty, science, medicine and more. The wonders of the sea still lurk with scientists estimating that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the abyss. However, due to a range of reasons, the world that we live in is threatened. With more pollution now that ever, dramatic amounts of overfishing and the threat to some of the worlds most amazing sea creatures, I truly wonder how we allow this to happen.
Overfishing is one of the most talked about topics when referring to the degrading health of our oceans. Overfishing occurs when the population of fish is caught more than it can naturally reproduce. Sharks unfortunately are caught in nets and specifically hunted for their fins and medicinal purposes in Asia. Due to huge fishing operations in the Pacific and other oceans, the threat to all fish is one of great concern.
The great and growing need for protein in the worlds diet means that more and more fish are being caught to fuel this demand. The real problem lies in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. The WWF states that “It occurs across all types of fisheries, within national and international waters, and small scale to large industrialized operations. Illegal fishing accounts for an estimated 20% of the world’s catch and as much as 50% in some fisheries. The costs of illegal fishing are significant, with the value of pirate fish products estimated at between $10-23.5 billion annually.” you can find more on that article here on the WWF website. Speaking of notable Organisations the WWF deserves the highest praise that one should be able to receive – but here we like to give credit for smaller and less popular organizations that deserve recognition.
Fisheries target the top fish such as tuna, billfish and kingfish meaning that the smaller fish are overpopulated which results in an increased growth of algae destroying coral systems. The threat that fisheries pose to all species of fish needs to be addressed more seriously, because as of now little is done on the global stage to protect and preserve our future.
Whale Sharks are some of the most beautiful creatures in our ocean, often associated with their size and strength, society tends to ignore the true magnificence and rarity of the being. Living in harmony within marine ecosystems around the globe, a prominent site of existence is in the Maldives.
The Maldives Whale Shark Program is currently the only long lasting established research program that is still collectively dedicated to study the nature, behaviour and existence of the iconic whale shark.
Overview of Whale Sharks in the Maldives
The Whale Shark is the largest fish in the world, like most whales it feeds on krill, plankton and smaller fish. The Whale Shark particularly migrates to hotter regions (e.g. Maldives) and tends to stick to itself, besides when fending for its young. The whale derives from the size of the fish.
Whale Sharks are found in a range of areas, some include Thailand, the Philippines, the Maldives, Western Australia and Mozambique (off the coast of these areas obviously). From these locations scientists have gathered that the whale shark tends to prefer warmer climates to inhabit.
The Importance of the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program
The Maldives Whale Research Program is working towards the conservation of whale sharks, which has been threatened due to a number of reasons. Most importantly, the loss of natural environment, pollution and the disruption of migration paths has led to a decrease in whale shark numbers. Sharks have inhabited our ocean for well over 400 million years, diversifying our oceans, aweing us as humans and maintaining the natural marine ecosystem. However, now in the 21st century the population of all sharks is decreasing at a startling rate – the IUCN has concluded that approximately one quarter of shark, ray and chimaera species are on the brink of extinction. The threat that these animals face is immense.
The Maldives Whale Shark Research Program aims to reduce the declining population of whale sharks by continuously conducting research and working towards the preservation of the mysterious creature.
You can find out more about their work on their Research page – they have plenty of interesting stories and recounts of their work towards the research of the mysterious creature. By accumulating more and more information regarding the whale shark, the MWSRP is able to better provide support and work out effective strategies on how to protect the whale shark. Currently they have established common habitats and several migration routes.
The MWSRP are important because they stand for the voice of whale sharks in the Maldives – one of the most prominent whale shark locations. If not for their work, then the prominence and safety of whale sharks would be non-existent. They are to be truly commended.
How to Support the Cause
Supporting the cause that the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program initiate every day, month and year is a great way to show your support in preserving such an amazing species. You can volunteer for the program and get involved in the great work here at the Volunteer tab. In retrospect you can also contact them to inquire about their work directly.
Our world needs more orgainisations like the MWSRP, working towards the preservation of a natural and beautiful animal that was intended for this world. Instead of bickering among ourselves over oil prices, TV shows and politics we must come together and work together to form a brighter future for all.
This has been another post on From Earth To Man, we hope you enjoyed reading about the amazing work the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program does and the threat to all marine life if we let these offences go unnoticed. Read another post from any of the links below, also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram to get the latest news and information of the progress and activity of From Earth To Man.