Whale shark swiming at Isla Holbox 2hrs north of Cancun
Whale-Shark Expedition (May to September)
– a boat trip along the virgin cost of Holbox Island to meet the majestic and friendly Whale-Sharks (more than 10 meters long). A worldwide unique experience. Reserve a whaleshark tour here
He found that the Whale Sharks
tend to aggregate every year around Holbox and the Campeche bank. They are still not sure why, but they do know that the main reason is the nutrient rich water that comes into the basin at this time of year. This is now a protected park but the problem is that now they know that the Whale Sharks go way out of this range and they need more protection. The Mexican government has been very strict thus far but will need to do more soon. Holbox has changed from a sleepy fishy village, (island), to an Ecotourism
Island. The fisherman have turned into guides and have done a great job of
setting rules and guidelines that the tourist that come to see the Whales sharks must follow
The team has made many observations with two types of tagging, photographs, sightings, etc. With the satellite tags, they get information once the tag pops off the Whale Shark which is usually in about one month
Holbox will need to make sure that they only allow a certain amount of tourists and boats out in the park waters at one time. They are worried that too many boats will affect the Whale Sharks in general. Hurricane Wilma did put quite a damper on this island but the tourism and people have brought it back. The Mexican government and the Whale Shark team are very concerned that boats may come from as far away as Cancun. Once the Whale Sharks leave Holbox, some go towards Texas, some towards the western gulf, some down past Cozumel, some towards Cuba, but they don’t know where all of them go. They don’t know at what age exactly they are mature enough for mating. They don’t know where the pupping grounds are or when and where they mate. There are a few fisherman stories about the Whale Sharks
thrashing around, like fighting and then the water turns white. Hopefully this will be documented and then they will know that the Whale Sharks come to Holbox for something beside food. It’s usually also timed around the snapper spawn
Each year many Whale Sharks visit isla de Holbox
, from 500 – 1500, May – Sept.
Whale Sharks come when the water is nutrient rich.
Whale Sharks can eat up to 9 pounds per hour in the right conditions
Whale Sharks tend to aggregate every year at and around Holbox, both Mature males and female and Immature males and females.
Whale Sharks feed in 3 different ways, Active Ram filter feeding, Vertical feeding when the waters are nutrient rich, and Passive feeding, when they just have their mouths open and maybe get something.
Whale Sharks are very fast growing animals
Whale Sharks closest relative, the Nurse shark
Whale Shark numbers in the Caribbean are increasing.
Whale Sharks can travel up to 35 miles in one day
Whale Sharks can go as deep as 3000′ which they don’t know why but right now they think it has something to do with cooling off. After a full day of feeding at the surface in the hot sun, they rest and glide down and then come up in a short time. So this shows that Whale Sharks can go into very cold water, 38, but they don’t stay long.
The brain of a Whale Shark can fit into the palm of your hand so they think this shows that the Whale Shark does not think as much as other sharks.
Whale Shark migration may start in Holbox, but they do not know where they all go. Somehow they find their way back to Holbox. Do they stay in and around the Caribbean or do they go all the way over to Africa and back. No one knows this information yet.
Whale Sharks can have up to 300 pups, but they don’t know where, or when.