IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


19th June, 2023 Environment

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  • A young whale shark, approximately 15-18 feet in length was found eating small fishes near Panaiyur coast.
  • These whale sharks were spotted 4th time near Chennai coast in 2023.

Other Details

  • In one week there were two more instances when 20 of these sharks were seen on Neelankarai beach.
  • The possible cause for their sighting is considered to be the abundant availability of plankton and small fish.
  • This shark was grey in color with pale yellow spots and stripes on skin. It had a white belly.
  • Since 2012, there are increased instances of the sharks sighting near Tamilnadu coast specially in Kalapakkam, Pondicherry, and Kovalam.

Whale Shark

  • Whale shark is also known as Rhincodon typus.
  • It is considered the largest fish on Earth which is very crucial for ecosystem.
  • It has found well distributed along the whole coastline of India.
  • However maximum population of this species in India is found along Gujarat coast followed by Lakshadweep.
  • It is mainly found in tropical and warm temperate seas.
  • These generally feed on small fish and plankton.

Conservation Status

  • According to Red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - listed as ‘Endangered’ .
  • In May 2021, Highest level of protection provided by Including them in in Schedule I of India's Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • They are also included in the Appendix II of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).


  • Illegal hunting and fishing of this animal.
  • By catching.
  • Increased
  • They are accidentally captured in fishing nets and die due to delayed release.

Measures to be taken for conservation

  • Reduce pollution and fishing pressure near its population.
  • Protecting of natural habitat.
  • Sensitising, educating and making people aware about the importance of conservation.
  • Need campaigns to change behavioural component of people.
  • Involve local fishermen in conservation and protection of the fish so that they can release the fish once caught in net.
  • Baseline data should generation more and then analysed to understand the trends in population, ecology and migration.

Wildlife Trust of India and Shark Conservation

  • It is a non-profit organization based in Delhi, India. It works to conserve wildlife, their natural habitat and nature as a whole.
  • It was established in November 1998.
  • In august 2022, Save the Whale Shark Campaign was launched by this organization in few coastal areas of India for instance Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep.
  • It was for raising awareness to protect sharks
  • Also a project named Whale Shark Conservation Project, has been started by Wildlife Trust of India for the long term conservation of Whale sharks.
    • In this joint venture of Gujarat Forest Department and Tata Chemicals Ltd
    • Local fishermen were encouraged to release the shark by compensating their cost of net.
    • Under this project hundreds of whale sharks were saved from being captured and from being killed.

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Whale shark is crucial species for the marine ecosystem. Highlight the causes for the declining population of this species. Also by mentioning its conservation status suggests measures which could be taken for its conservation. (150 words)