A congregation of whale sharks was spotted at Al Shaheen Oil Field near Qatar’s northeastern coast — a fascinating scene rarely seen in the world where these giant sea creatures gather in an environment above 40 degrees Celsius. Over 100 whale sharks congregate near colonies of coral reefs, 90 kilometers from land, between April and end of September every year, as opposed to 4-5 weeks in other locations around the globe.
Salem Al-Safran, Deputy Director of Natural Reserves Management Department at Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality and Environment said the ministry has been making efforts to maintain the marine environment, especially following the congregation of whale sharks. He said that the whale shark, which is 15 meters long and weighs more than 30 tons, is one of the largest fish in the world.
In a statement to Kuwait News Agency, Safran said the ministry launched the result of a project in 2011 that has contributed to the protection of whale sharks not only at Al Shaheen Oil Field but around the world. He added that the ministry has succeeded in knowing the behavior of these huge yet nice creatures. The ministry monitors a herd of about 400 whale sharks in the Al Shaheen Oil Field, most often when they come to eat eggs of Tuna fish, which lay millions of eggs in the area between April and October.
The ministry also began investigating the journey of whale sharks in 2019 by installing tracking devices on 12 whale sharks. A documentary about whale sharks was also produced, according to Safran. Whale sharks live in warm tropical waters and can live up to 70 years. Despite their huge size, filter feeder whale sharks feed on plankton such as copepods, krill, roe, and small fish.
Source: Kuwait News Agency
Cover Image: Shutterstock/Image used for representation purposes only
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