See a whale shark? Let a scientist know

See a whale shark? Let a scientist know

To the Editor:

Mote Marine Laboratory received a report of five whale sharks — Earth’s largest fish species — about 40 miles off Anna Maria Island last weekend, and Mote scientists are asking members of the public to report new sightings off Florida’s Gulf Coast immediately.

Whale sharks sporadically visit Southwest Florida’s coastal waters, most likely to filter-feed on localized blooms of plankton or fish eggs. They are easily identified by their massive size, up to about 45 feet, and their polka dot coloration.

Please report any whale shark sightings in the Gulf of Mexico immediately from your boat or just after disembarking, within 24 hours at most, to Dr. Bob Hueter at Mote’s Center for Shark Research:
941-302-0976. Please note the number of whale sharks spotted, the date, time, location and exact GPS coordinates if possible.

Haley Rutger,
Content development manager at Mote Marine
Sarasota