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October 2004 Vol. 30, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Shark Research Institute

from the October, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Joan David, the Director of Development of the Shark Research Institute, is focusing on Holbox whale shark conservation. Originally, SRI hoped to tag the fish and study their physical characteristics, behavior, sex, and length, and take skin samples. However, David was not successful in getting the necessary work permissions from the government, so her research has been informal.

She says that the Holbox sharks in general are very focused on their feeding. She thinks some are curious and seem to want to spend time with the snorkelers. She observed many sharks with damaged fins or scarring, and others that had been hit by propellers. One shark was reportedly sighted with two harpoons still stuck in its body. This allegation raised her concern that illegal fishing continues despite protection in so many areas.

The Shark Research Institute has worked hard to protect the whale shark from extinction, knowing that they, like other sharks, are being sought for their fins for the Asian delicacy, “shark fin soup.” They study the migratory patterns of the sharks through tagging and sighting. David continues to work through the Mexican bureaucracy to acquire permission to conduct research. And, SRI needs donations to purchase $4500 satellite tags and pay for the time necessary to collect data.

For more information contact the Shark Research Institute Texas Office 210-545-6756 or

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