Act Now to Protect Whale Sharks

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Originally Posted: 20 November 2011

Act Now to Protect Whale Sharks

FROM Pew Environmental Group


Urge the U.S. delegation to the WCPFC (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission) to support measures that prohibit intentional fishing around whale sharks and protect this gentle giant of the sea. 

Sign an online petition:

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Jane Lubchenco
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230
phone (301)713-4000


WCPFC Secretariat
PO Box 2356
Kolonia, Pohnpei State
Federated States of Micronesia
phone +691 320 1992 or 320 1993
fax +691 320 1108
[email protected]


At the upcoming Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting, the United States should support a proposal to prohibit the harmful practice of intentionally setting tuna nets around whale sharks, where skipjack tuna congregate. This ban is easily enforceable, because all purse seine vessels in the area are required to carry a fisheries observer.

Whale sharks are the gentle giants of the sea, reaching up to 60 feet (20 meters) while feeding only on microscopic prey and small fish. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified whale sharks as Vulnerable to extinction, and they are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. But the Pacific purse seine fleet's practice of intentionally setting its nets around whale sharks to catch skipjack tuna, is threatening the world's largest fish in areas managed by the WCPFC.

Whale sharks and other sharks in the Pacific need protection now. Please endorse the proposed ban on intentional sets around whale sharks to ensure the survival of this unique and majestic species. The WCPFC has taken initial action to conserve Pacific sharks. However, stronger, more meaningful measures are needed now by WCPFC to ensure that targeted fishing and bycatch do not deplete shark species and drive them to extinction.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!