Responsible Whale Shark Tourism in Mexico

Ralph Lee Hopkins

The whale shark (Rhinocodon typus) is an extremely large, slow-moving, filter feeding, carpet shark and the world’s second largest fish. Despite their size (equivalent to a school bus when fully mature), whale sharks’ diet consists mainly of planktonic organisms, to which they open their large mouths and filter the tiny organisms floating through the water column.

The whale shark is listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The most significant threat to whale sharks is human activity particularly hunting.

Whale sharks are found in the open waters of tropical oceans and prefer water temperatures above 72°F.  They spend a majority of their time swimming at the ocean’s surface, make them vulnerable to poor fishing practices, boat-strikes and greater susceptibility to plastics ingestion.

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Mining for Blue Carbon in the Mangroves of Baja’s Magdalena Bay

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Last week, a WILDCOAST team traveled to Puerto San Carlos in the community of Magdalena Bay. After three hours on the road surrounded by nothing other than cardon cacti, we arrived at our destination.  As you enter Puerto San Carlos, you are welcomed by a sea of mangroves that surround the community, and you are instantly wowed.

Magdalena Bay is the largest wetland in Baja California and provides habitat for some of most pristine and biologically important mangroves in the world. Research has shown that coastal desert mangroves store up to five times more carbon than tropical mangroves. 

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