Swimming with whale sharks in Mexico

Whale sharks

Today, I had the privilege to swim alongside hundreds of whale sharks in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, with friends from Virgin Unite, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Holidays and WildAid.

Swimming with whale sharks is more than enjoying the companionship of oneof the most majestic fish in the sea; it highlights how coastal fishing communities and international tourists can help keep whale sharks alive.

Communities have learned that they are worth considerably more when kept alive and not killed for their fins. Every year, families from around the world travel to the coasts of Central America, Australia, Africa, and Southeast Asia to watch whale sharks feast on summer plankton. In Isla Mujeres, the growing interest to swim with whale sharks has increased the number of licensed tour operators over more than 100 in just seven years since the local whale shark tourism industry began.

Worldwide, whale shark tourism is estimated to generate over US$47million each year, with a single whale shark bringing in as much as US$2.09 million over its lifetime - again, much more alive than killed for a few thousand dollars for shark fin soup.

If whale shark tourism continues to grow, sharks will get to keep playing their important role in the ocean's ecosystem.

Join me in saying No to shark fin soup at http://wildaid.org/sayno.

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