Whale shark, Indonesia
Mahardika Rizqi Himawan
Whale shark, the largest fish in the world, has been listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Despite protection by the Indonesian government the species faces various threats such as becoming bycatch when caught by local fishermen and getting stranded. The lack of knowledge about whale sharks' ecology also hinders conservation efforts in Indonesia. This project aims to gather and integrate data and anecdotal information on whale sharks in Indonesian waters, which will be collected through desk study, survey and regular monitoring by local authorities. This information will be made available in an online database (whalesharkindonesia.org) that is accessible to interested stakeholders.
The activities will be conducted in four areas where whale sharks have been sighted regularly; Weh Island (Aceh), Probolinggo (East Java), Talisayan (East Kalimantan), and Parigi (Central Sulawesi). Besides monitoring, we plan to gather information on whale shark sighting and stranding events in Indonesia, and raise public awareness through training. This project is expected to facilitate national and local stakeholder collaboration in supporting whale shark conservation in Indonesia. The project, led by the local stakeholders, will invigorate the development of policies, studies, conservation efforts and tourism practices that are more favourable to whale sharks and sustainability.