Volume 59

Impact of annual aggregations of Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) on the North and Northeast Communities of the Yucatan Peninsula

Gonzalez Cano, J., De la Parra Venegas, R., Perez Ramirez, J., Remolina, F., Suarez, M., Mendoza, T.
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Date: November, 2006

Pages: 606

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Nine Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Belize City

Country: Belize


In just three years the lifestyle of communities on the north and northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico has changed dramatically due to the occurrence of whale sharks in the area. What used to be a fish of no economic importance has become a factor of additional income to the populations of Holbox, Isla Mujeres and Cancun. This species has become the center of tourist activity in the Holbox area because the community is located at the closest site for the observation and swimming near the whale sharks. Data and statistics are presented to understand this phenomena which shows changes that have taken place within the communities and joint actions taken by both inhabitants of the community and authorities. Also presented are the results of a research project designed to learn more of the biology and the population dynamics of whale sharks as well as to evaluate the best strategies for the protection and conservation of the species. The results show that benefits could be achieved with compliance to the measures and regulations which have been designed. Although whale sharks are a transboundary species and its conservation depends on the efforts of many countries, the results presented here show the actions that could be achieved locally in a global effort for the conservation of the species

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