Featured Image Credit: WWF
By: Sarah Sharkey
Earlier this month, a school of whale sharks was spotted off the west coast of Florida. According to the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, there were five whale sharks spotted by a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles off Anna Maria Island.
The fisherman, Jacob Campoamor, said that he was out grouper fishing with his family when they encounter a school of these gigantic fish. The whale’s sharks came close to his boat and hung around for about 20 minutes before disappearing. Campoamor said that “We see a lot of cool stuff, but this is the first time seeing whale sharks”
Seeing one whale shark is exciting, but seeing five is absolutely amazing. The sighting has intrigued the senior scientist and director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote, Bob Hueter. He said, “It’s exciting that we are hearing reports of five whale sharks in one area because it suggests they might be feeding on something in a special spot.”
What is so special about this spot? No one knows yet! Scientists are hoping to tag these animals in their near future, hopefully, their tracking patterns will help to illuminate the mystery. The more information we know about these animals, the better able we are to protect them
If you see whale sharks off the west coast of Florida, then please contact a scientist about it. You can report your sighting to the Mote’s Center for Shark Research at 941-302-0976.
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