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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Whale shark conservation and tourism

Gujarat in ‘shark’ focus ahead of introducing whale shark tourism BASHIR PATHAN Posted: Nov 27, 2008

Gandhinagar, November 26 : Foreign as well as domestic tourists visiting Gujarat will now get a chance to watch whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) from a close range in their natural habitat, as the Whale Shark Watching Tourism is all set to be introduced off the Saurashtra coast.

Note: Natural habitat!
It has also been proposed to work out combined packages involving other nearby tourist destinations to attract tourists. “This is to create awareness about the need for conservation and protection of the amazing whale sharks, and generate employment for the local fishermen,” said a senior Forest official involved in the project.

The whale shark was once known to be hunted along the Gujarat coast in large numbers. According to a survey conducted in 1999-2000, as many as 591 sharks had been reported killed for liver oil that was used for waterproofing wooden boats and the meat for export. India banned whale shark hunting in 2001, making it the first fish to be protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act,

Later, the Gujarat government launched an awareness campaign to protect sharks, involving local fishermen and religious leaders. The voluntary conservation programme now has local fishermen, especially in the coastal areas of Veraval, Mangrol, Porbandar and Sutrapada, playing an active role.

Are Singaporeans so far removed from a relationship with nature that they think keeping a whale shark in a tank is okay? There is NO WAY to duplicate in a captive environment what a whale shark experiences in its lifetime migrating across oceans. And similarly keeping a whale shark in captivity is IN NO WAY anything close to conservation, no matter how much Resort World Sentosa tries to pretend it is.

Come on guys, even India knows better.

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