Thursday, 25 August 2016

Indonesia must do more to protect whale sharks, conservationists say

23 August 2016 / Fidelis E. Satriastanti

The world’s largest fish was recently declared an endangered species.

Most whale sharks live in the Indo-Pacific, where Indonesia lies.

The giant fish is a protected species in Indonesia, but that hasn't stopped poachers from hunting it for its fins, skin and oil.

Advocates want the Indonesian government to crack down on traffickers and do more to promote sustainable ecotourism that contributes to the creature's conservation.

In 2013, Indonesia declared the whale shark a protected species, hoping to put a dent in the thriving trade in its body and parts which was pushing the world’s largest fish toward extinction.

The new distinction failed to halt an alarming decline in its numbers. Earlier this year, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) was uplisted from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Now, conservationists are saying Indonesia must do more to protect the school bus-sized creature, including through improved ecotourism management, law enforcement and legal protection.

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