Lemon Shark in black and white

Sharks

Whale Shark
Whale Shark

Whale sharks live an incredibly long time

Many divers dream of the day they find themselves swimming beside a whale shark. Its gentle demeanour and huge size presents a unique humbling experience that is second to none.

Yet, there is much we still do not know about whale sharks.

Today, one of their hidden mysteries have been unlocked–their age.

Until recently, it was hard to fix a number to their age, as they do not have bony structures (otoliths) which are traditionally used to calculate the age of fish.

A curious shark

The Year of the Shark 2019 Ends

What we see is that sharks are being targeted by international factory fleets around the world who trail millions upon millions of baited hooks through their realm, trawl the sea floors for rays, skates and other bottom dwellers to 4,000 metres, and slaughter them by the millions. Sharks are the only profitable prey remaining, now that ninety percent of the original (fish) fisheries are fished out.

Shark fishing makes pregnant sharks abort

The lead researcher, Kye Adams, a PhD student at the University of Wollongong, said that shark fishermen should be made aware of the danger of inducing abortions in pregnant sharks, rays, or skates. So far, the loss of the young aborted by fished sharks has been ignored by both science and fishermen.

Adams said, "It's quite prevalent across a lot of species and also seems to be not well known by both researchers and recreational fishers. "They don't realise these events are abortions, they think they are witnessing a natural birth."

Tiger shark dance
Enjoying the 'Shark ballet'

The Value of Shark Dives

So shark dive clubs usually bring some fishy scraps—in most cases the remains left over after big fish have been cut up for sale. The scent attracts the sharks into view and provides a bit of excitement as the animals investigate and try to get a piece. But little actual food or nourishment is given. The sharks circle far and wide through the vast volume of the visible ocean, in a memorable and dramatic display, as they look over the scene, zoom in for a closer look, try for a scrap, and socialize.

Malapascua Island: Where thresher sharks roam

As picture perfect as Malapascua is, in a nation of 7,107 palm tree fringed islands, 2.5km long Malapascua wouldn’t be on anyone’s radar were it not for the thresher sharks that treat the island like a spa. Each morning as the sun peeks over the mountains on distant Cebu, Pelagic threshers rise from the depths to be cleaned by reef fish along a deep ledge known as Monad Shoal.