Swimming with whale sharks in Mexico

Whale sharks

Today, I had the privilege to swim alongside hundreds of whale sharksin IslaMujeres, Mexico,withfriends fromVirgin Unite, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Holidays, and WildAid.

Swimming withwhale sharksis more than enjoying the companionship ofoneof 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 theyare worth considerably more when kept alive and not killed for their fins.Every year, families from around the world travel to the coasts ofCentral America, Australia,Africa, and Southeast Asiatowatch whale sharks feast on summer plankton.In Isla Mujeres, the growinginteresttoswim withwhale sharkshasincreasedthe number of licensed tour operators over more than 100in just sevenyears since thelocalwhale shark tourism industrybegan.

Worldwide, whale shark tourism is estimated to generate over US$47million each year,witha single whale sharkbringingin as much as US$2.09 millionover its lifetime - again, much more alive than killed for afew thousand dollars for shark fin soup.

Ifwhale shark tourismcontinuestogrow,sharks will get to keepplaying their important role inthe ocean's ecosystem.

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

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