A team of researchers carrying out studies in Indonesia is closer to understand whale shark, the biggest fish of today, using the same RFID chips are inserted into pets for identification.
Last month, scientists from Conservation International (CI), WWF-Indonesia, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute and State University of Papua have RFID chips inserted in 30 whale sharks Cendrawasih National Park in Indonesia, where gigantic fish come every year to feed with fish.
Mark Erdmann, adviser to the marine research project conducted by CI says that the RFID chips “have never been used on giant animals browsing unhindered ocean”, because there can only be read by a machine to be positioned in the vicinity . The researchers decided to take this step for the sharks return to repeatedly in the same place to eat fish targeted by fishermen in the area.
Scientists have assumed that whale sharks feed mainly on plankton. A film recently showed those from CI but that these giant fish, the size of a bus, feed and fish caught by Indonesian fishermen in their nets.
Erdmann said that sharks have recently become “too friendly with the nets”, reaching in some cases to become trapped and be in need of volunteers to release them. Now, researchers have turned to fishermen in the area, asking them to change nets used to prevent recurrence of such cases.
Because whale sharks started coming more often in Cendrawasih National Park, they have become very popular among the public and the Indonesian authorities have decided this month to declare them protected species. Government action is important because Indonesia is the largest exporter of sharks in the world.
CI’s chief researcher, Greg Stone, believes that “Whale sharks are an excellent ambassador for all other sharks. They do not hurt anyone, so it is a point that people can begin to study sharks, to understand the critical role that they have it on Earth “.
Source: Washington Post