Whale sharks to satellite tracked

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In a first of its kind initiative, whale sharks found along the Gujarat coast will be put on satellite monitoring which will help scientists to understand their migratory patterns and other data of the fish.

Experts from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) will start a monitoring project in which a small tag will be implanted on the dorsal fin of the fish.

The tag via satellite will provide the crucial information about the migration, breeding, water temperature and deep movement among other parameters of the fish and its habitat.

Although satellite monitoring has been used for sea turtle and some other marine species in India, it will be used for the first time for whale sharks in the country.

There is very little knowledge at global level about the largest fish, also known as “gentle giant of the sea”.

The fish was discovered in 1868 and since then global efforts are on to reveal its mysterious life. The International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has listed the species as endangered.

“We do not have any population specific data about the species. One of the greatest constraints of the conservation of the fish is poor knowledge about the life and biological parameters such as growth, reproduction, distribution and movement,” coordinator of the project Dhiresh Joshi said.

The information gathered from tracking of this fish will give vital clues about its breeding and migratory pattern.

The data will help in designing conservation projects for the endangered fish which is killed for meat, liver oils, fins, frozen meat that are in huge demand in the south Asian countries.