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Marine experts call for boats to keep clear as whale sharks feed off Phuket

Marine experts call for boats to keep clear as whale sharks feed off Phuket

PHUKET: Officials from the Marine Endangered Species Unit at the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) called for all boats to keep clear of whale sharks spotted feeding off Kamala Beach yesterday afternoon (Feb 14).

marineanimalsenvironmenttransport
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 15 February 2017, 02:01PM


Marine experts called for all boats to keep clear from whale sharks off Phuket's west coast. Image: Screengrab from jet-ski operator video

Marine experts called for all boats to keep clear from whale sharks off Phuket's west coast. Image: Screengrab from jet-ski operator video

The PMBC marine experts, along with officials from the Phuket office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), were called in after jet-ski operators spotted the whale sharks 500 metres offshore at about 3pm.

Local residents voiced their concerns that the whale sharks might be ill, causing them to come close to shore, possibly with the intent of beaching themselves.

However, by the time the officials arrived, the whale sharks had gone.

“We couldn’t find them, and we found no indications in the water that the whale sharks were sick,” one official told The Phuket News.

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“At this stage we believe they came close to shore to feed because there was a lot of plankton in the area,” he added.

Regardless, the officials called for local boat operators, fishermen and tourists to keep clear of any whale sharks in the area.

“Please do not go near them or interfere with their feeding. They are harmless and important to the local food chain – and the last thing we want is for any of them to be injured by a boat propeller,” the official added.

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