Our Living Seas

Whale Sharks of Oslob

PHILIPPINES

In the 1990's, whale sharks were being poached around Bohol Philippines. The fins were sold for very high prices throughout the Asian markets. In 1998 the Philippine Fisheries Administration Order 193 declared it illegal to catch, sell, buy, process or export whale sharks and manta rays. Many local fishermen were forced to stop fishing for Uyap (brine shrimp) when whale sharks came back to feed on one of its primary food sources. Fishermen started feeding the whale sharks in an attempt to lure them away from the Uyap fishing grounds. Now tourists, snorkelers and Divers from all over the world come to Oslob to see these magnificent creatures. The final word is still out whether feeding whale sharks inhibit their normal migration habits and behaviors. For the moment I am happy they are no longer being killed for their fins.