Sighting of whale shark indicates marine richness

Sighting of whale shark indicates marine richness

A Bryde's whale surfaced near a fishing boat off Bang Saphan dsitrict in Prachuap Khiri Khan province over the weekend. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)
A Bryde's whale surfaced near a fishing boat off Bang Saphan dsitrict in Prachuap Khiri Khan province over the weekend. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)

The sighting of a whale shark off Prachuap Khiri Khan's coast signals the abundance of natural resources in Thailand's oceans, an official said on Monday.

Sharks feed on small fry and plankton, both indicators of marine resource richness, Marine and Coastal Resources Department deputy director-general Sophon Thongdee said.

A whale shark calf was spotted just 300 metres off Ban Krud and Ban Don Samran in Bang Saphan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan province last weekend. It was 2-3 metres long and weighed around 300 kilogrammes. The baby shark surfaced close to a fishing boat to feed on squid and plankton attracted by the boat's bait light.

Boat owner Nawee Jitrawat and tourists commuting on the Chok Nawee boat were amazed by the sight. The boat owner said the calf approached the boat and followed it for an hour before gliding away. He said this marked the tenth time this year that he had spotted a shark in the area, stating that the biggest shark he laid eyes on was around 6 metres long.

Mr Nawee added that based on the size of the sharks he spotted this past year, he is certain there are at least six sharks living in the area.

The increased number of shark sightings in both Chumphon province and off the Andaman coast prompted the director-general to commission a study on the shark. A conservation plan is forthcoming.

Mr Sophon pleaded with tourists and other people spotting sharks not to touch or chase the sharks for pictures, since that could potentially harm them. 


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