The fishing, selling, importing and exporting of whale sharks is banned in the Philippines, India and Tiawan.
We don’t know much about the life history of whale sharks, but we do know that their populations are declining. Whale shark meat is highly valuable and the animals are also used for leather and traditional medicine. Knowledge of whale sharks is so limited that it is difficult to know what other factors, such as habitat damage, affect their numbers. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists the whale shark as “vulnerable” on their Red List of Threatened Species, which means they are not endangered now but face extinction in the future.
International trade in whale shark meat is strictly controlled by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Whale shark fishing was banned by The Maldives in 1995, the Philippines in 1998, and Taiwan in 2008. In 2001 the whale shark became the first fish to be protected under the Indian Wildlife Act. In the United States whale sharks are protected in all the areas where they occur.
In recent years, whale sharks have become an eco-tourist attraction in places like Australia, the Philippines and Belize. The whale shark tourism industry is now worth US$47.5 million worldwide.
Nationally, a number of states have implemented conservation measures relating to Whale Sharks, including banning fishing and encouraging best practice codes of conduct.
Australia, Belize, Gulf of Mexico, Honduras, India, Maldives, Mexico, Palau, Philippines, Seychelles, Taiwan, Thailand and the US Atlantic have all placed restrictions and bans that serve to protect the whale shark. Conservation efforts started around 1995 and more efforts are still being made today.
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