Whale shark sea­son swims on

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Nearly two months after the end of the usual whale shark sea­son, op­er­a­tors are still spot­ting up to three of the gen­tle gi­ants ev­ery day.

Whale shark sea­son nor­mally stops at the end of August, when num­bers tend drop quickly, at which point tour op­er­a­tors switch to ma­rine eco tours at a re­duced price.

Nin­ga­loo Blue owner Peter McKis­sock said in his years at the helm he had al­most never seen the whale sharks around so late.

“They stayed around late in 2013, but prior to that we have barely any record of it,” he said.

“We haven’t ac­tu­ally been do­ing much with the hump­backs be­cause there are still whale sharks around.

“There’s still a good chance they will stay around a bit longer, maybe an­other week or two.”

Mr McKis­sock said chil­dren had ben­e­fited from the long sea­son, with a good run of sight­ings dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

Ex­mouth Vis­i­tor Cen­tre spokesman Ben Knaggs said since op­er­a­tors had switched to ma­rine eco tours there had been only three no-sight­ing days.

He said this, cou­pled with a successful start to the hump­back swim trial, had made for happy trav­ellers.

“The hump­backs them­selves have proved to be much more in­ter­ested in the tour groups than was first an­tic­i­pated, with tour op­er­a­tors work­ing out of both Ex­mouth and Co­ral Bay re­port­ing suc­cess rates for un­der­wa­ter in­ter­ac­tions with hump­backs as high as 90 per cent,” he said.

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