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MCSS
Marine Conservation Society Seychelles

Seychelles Whale Shark Monitoring Programme

In 1996 the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles started monitoring and tagging Whale Sharks in Seychelles waters. As a result of our efforts the Government of Seychelles declared the shark a protected species in 2003.

The monitoring programme in past years relied on being able to identify individual whale sharks and then record their activities and movements by subsequent re-sightings. Sharks were identified by digital Photo-Identification and entered in the Seychelles whale shark database.

Funding from the project over the last four years was partly through a GEF Protected Areas project in which MCSS was looking at the feasibility of Temporal Protected Areas around the foraging shark aggregations. The project has established a permanent database for collection and analysis of whale shark population size, movements and habits in the area, and environmental and ecological parameters affecting it. These data inform the decision making process regarding fisheries, conservation and protection both locally and regionally.

The GEF PA programme came to an end in June 2015 and as there have been very low numbers of sharks seen in the last two years MCSS cannot continue to support the scale of operations run previously.

We are taking on volunteers and if they are present in September and October, the usual whale shark season, they will be allocated to assisting with the whale shark programme if there are substantial sightings, see the volunteers page for details.

We also run an annual whale shark monitoring programme in Djibouti in December / January each year, see the Djibouti project page for details.

For the latest information please visit our whale shark monitoring BLOG.