International Whale Shark Day is celebrated every year on August 30 to spread awareness about the importance of giant species of sharks in the ocean’s ecosystem across the world. The main purpose of this international day is to raise awareness about the significant role of whale sharks to marine ecosystems. Now the population of whale sharks is declining rapidly due to overfishing for their meat and fins that are used in soup. The skins of whale sharks are also used for oils and leather.
Whale Sharks are one of the biggest fish species across the world that are found near tropical oceans and coral reefs and occasionally make their way into temperate areas. The whale shark is an efficient-filter feeder which relies on plankton, small fish, and krill to survive. Whale sharks may eat up to 40kg of food per hour that can swallow around 3,000 pounds of plankton per day and they can live for about 50 years. The size of a whale shark is about 50 feet long with a weight of 50 tons.
This international day highlights the significant role to keep our ocean ecosystems balanced and healthy. It is important to note that the population of whale sharks are reducing rapidly by an estimation of 63 percent in the last 75 years. Due to overfishing for fins and their meat, the population of whale sharks is fast decreasing across the world. Climate change and habitat loss are also the main reasons for reducing the population of the whale shark.
Thus, the main aim of celebrating International Whale Shark Day is to increase or maintain or conserve the population of a whale shark that plays an important in the ecosystem.