25th June 2015
Excited marine scientists will keep a close eye on north Queensland after commercial fisherman spotted a group of whale sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. The discovery was made off the coast of Townsville on the outer reef and came as a surprise to Marine Park authorities. Although whale sharks have previously been spotted on the reef, this was the first sighting of a group recorded.
Worldwide and under national legislation, whale sharks are a threatened species, making the discovery all the more exciting. The world's largest known fish species, whale sharks can grow up to 14m long. However tourists should not be alarmed, as the sharks don't attack humans and rather survive on tiny organisms such as fish and crab larvae, small schooling fish, krill and jellyfish.
Despite the ecological and environmental impacts the sighting may have, Marine Park authorities are also considering the potential impact on tourism. Already there have been calls for a management response to consider the potential for visitors to observe these animals on the reef. However authorities maintained they weren't jumping to conclusions just yet and would continue to investigate the sighted whale shark feeding frenzy.
Of course visitors who are interested in exploring the incredible marine life of the Great Barrier Reef in a more in depth experience are encouraged to try liveaboard diving on the Great Barrier Reef. A whole lot more than just a brief snorkelling or diving experience, these reef dive courses and tours offer an amazing, extended diving experience on the Great Barrier Reef. Available on 3 day, 4 day and even 7 day liveaboard diving experiences, visitors can explore the diversity of coral gardens and sea life on remote coral reefs on board spacious, comfortable vessels with all gear included as well as chef-prepared meals.