Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

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Research made visible – Whale Sharks in Djibouti

From mid October to February plankton ‘blooms’ develop in an enclosed bay near Djibouti town called the Goubet al Kharab (the Devil’s Cauldron). This spot is visited by whale sharks year round, with frequent encounters October to February.

Recent research by the Marine Society of the Seychelles, partly funded by the Save Our Seas Foundation, and utilizing eco-volunteer support, has recognised the particular importance of the bay in the development of juvenile Whale Sharks, which stay within the safe confines of Djibouti’s coast line. The whale sharks follow the plankton.

Underwater photographer Peter Verhoog of the Dutch Shark Society had the privilege of joining a research vessel last year. We published some pictures about this trip, but have now put the full set on line, showing several research aspects.

It was an exciting trip, with large numbers of whale sharks: 391 in the first week, 319 in the second week and 370 in the third week. The research team also fishes for plankton, takes ID pictures and skin samples and tags a number of sharks. Since 2010, the sharks are measured using laser photo-grammetry.

A fascinating project!