Jakarta (Greeners) – Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries had listed whale shark (Rhincodon typus) as protected under Ministerial Decree No. 18 Year 2013.
Nevertheless, whale shark is allowed to be manage as part of tourism attraction in accordance with conservation paradigm, which aims to protect, conserve, and manage sustainably.
“Whale shark tourism must be managed wisely and according to guidance set up by the ministry so the activities will still be considerate with conservationism,” said Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, as quoted in a press release, in Jakarta, on Sunday(15/5).
Pudjiastuti said that the ministry encouraged whale shark tourism potential in Gorontalo Province through grants to communities of Bone Bolango district, such as snorkeling equipment and whale shark tourism guidance book.
Brahmantya Satyamurti, Director General of Ocean Management, said that people of Gorontalo held crucial role in protecting and promoting the whale shark tourism.
“The whale shark attraction will be monitored by local people. We can develop this tourism attraction without disturbing the whales. We must maintain visitors’ volume and keep stress out of the whales,” he said.
Whale shark is the largest shark in the world with length of 12-18 meters. It can reach 60 to 100 years of age. Young whale shark reached adult by the age of 25 years with one birth for each reproduction cycle.
Whale shark usually migrate to Gorontalo waters and can be seen in Tomini Bay, according to local fishermen.
On May, there were 13-14 whale sharks seen at Botubarani waters. Meanwhile, in 2006, Bonebolango had declared Ulele village as regional water conservation area.
Makassar ocean and coastal areas authorities have conducted technical guidance for diving guides and introducing the new system called Protected Fish Database Information System (SI DIDI) on May 11-14.
The workshop aimed to give knowledge for diving guides for responsible whale shark tourist activities. In addition, diving guides were give monitoring guide of whale shark which then be reported to the SI DIDI database system.
Reports by Danny Kosasih