Satellite tracking of whale sharks using tethered tags

Gifford, Andrew and Compagno, Leonard J. V. and Levine, Marie and Antoniou, Alex (2007) Satellite tracking of whale sharks using tethered tags. Science Direct. pp. 17-24.

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    The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is the largest fish in the sea, attaining a length of approximately 18–20 m. The whale shark is thought to be circumglobal in tropical and warmtemperate seas. An epipelagic oceanic and coastal species, it is generally seen close to the surface (Compagno, 1984, 2001). The first whale shark known to science was a specimen found in 1828 at Table Bay, South Africa (Smith, 1829), and strandings occur along the South African coast as south as the Cape of Good Hope in waters as cool as 10 ◦C. By 1986, there had only been 320 recorded sightings of the shark in all of Western scientific literature (Wolfson, 1986), a measure of the rarity of the species. Comparatively large numbers of whale sharks have been seen in the Sea of Cortez and off Mexico between Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco from March to August (Eckert,, in the Gulf of Mexico (Baughman and Springer, 1950), and the Caribbean Sea (Gudger, 1939) where they have been observed feeding amid schooling blackfin tuna, Thunnus atlanticus. Congregations of the sharks have only been recorded in a few areas. In the Indian Ocean, whale sharks congregate at Ningaloo Reef in March and April when the coral spawn (Taylor, 1996), and gathering of the giant fish now supports an ecotourism industry (Coleman, 1997). Congregations of the sharks also occur in the Seychelles in August and November (Rowat, pers. comm.), and along the coast of East Africa (Gifford, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998). Aerial surveys along 650 km of the Kenyan coast over a 2-month period in 1986 resulted in the sightings of 21 sharks, the largest number ever reported in the scientific literature up to that time (Wolfson, 1986). However, the greatest concentrations of the sharks appear to occur off Mozambique and the northern coast (KwaZulu-Natal) of South Africa from October through April. In South African waters, 95 whale sharks were observed between Durban and Umtentweni, a distance of 110 km, on 15 January 1994 (Gifford, 1994) during an aerial survey conducted by the Shark Research Institute (SRI). Subsequently, Beckley et al. (1997) reported a number of strandings and other records of whale sharks along the South African coast from the Western Cape to KwaZulu- Natal.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
      Publisher: ElSevier
      Keywords: Whale shark; Satellite telemetry; Indian Ocean; Caribbean Sea; Argos; Tagging
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AG) Mammals > (AGA) Marine Mammals
      (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2015 09:03
      Last Modified: 21 Aug 2015 09:03

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