The survey of the existence of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) conducted by the Center for Coastal and Marine Resources Management (BPSPL) Pontianak, Berau Marine and Fisheries Service, Mulawarman University and WWF – Indonesia in Talisayan, East Kalimantan, resulted in findings that need to be followed up.
Marine Species Officer of WWF-Indonesia, Casandra Tania when contacted from Pontianak, Monday said there has been no survey or identification of the existence of whale sharks in the region.
“The results of a survey conducted for four days of 16-19 September 2014, found 10 whale sharks,” he said.
Composition, 9 male tail and one female tail measuring from two meters to 7 meters.
According to Casandra Tania, the size of the whale shark found to be classified as a teenager or immature.
“The trend of whale sharks with the majority of immature male individuals is also found in the area of Cenderawasih Bay National Park, West Papua; Papua and Ningaloo Reef, Australia. ”
“The international community of researchers is still uncertain about the whereabouts of individual whale sharks, chicks, and adults,” he said.
He added, whale sharks began to be known in Kalimantan since it appeared in the media coverage in late 2013. However, data on the emergence of whale sharks in Talisayan is still not available, including official data from the Directorate of Area Conservation and Fish Types (KKJI).
“Next year, the plan will be done further research,” said Casancra Tania.
Meanwhile, Head of Coastal and Marine Resources Management Center (BPSPL) Pontianak, Directorate General of Coastal and Small Islands (KP3K), Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (YPIT) Yulita Wismaneli said there is still a lot of information to be extracted from fully protected fish based on KEPMEN KP No. 18 of 2013 on the Determination of the Status of Whale Shark Protection, because of the lack of data and information.
“BPSPL Pontianak facilitates the initial scientific research by conducting a Whale Shark Identification Survey at Talisayan,” he said.
While the head of DKP Berau, Fuadi, through the Head of Coastal and Small Islands Conservation and Development Section, Yunda Zuliarsih, said, whale sharks around the chart in Talisayan Waters provide opportunities for tourism development. However, before any tourism (tourism) activities are initiated, surveys for early information gathering need to be done so that tourism activities do not flourish wildly.
The whale sharks or those of the Talisayan community known as the shark or Labetti (spotted fish) will be the fascinate and marine tourism icons for Talisayan Subdivisions.
Surveys have been the initial stages of Whale Shark study in Talisayan.
“BPSPL Pontianak plans to conduct further surveys next year to deepen existing information by involving many parties such as from scientific authorities (LIPIs), Universities and NGOs in its implementation,” said the responsible for survey activities and Balikpapan Satpires, BPSPL Pontianak, Isaac Yusma.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world. The species is believed to grow up to 18 -20 m, but rarely find specimens measuring 12 m in weight with 20 tonnes. Despite its size, whale sharks tend to be benign and harmless to humans.
This shark has a gray 2 mm thick leather and is decorated with white totol. According to scientists, the totol-totol pattern is considered unique for each individual and can be used as a basis for the identification of individual whale sharks.
Tropical and subtropical waters are warm (18-30 C) except in the Mediterranian Sea can be found presence of whale sharks. This fish is a migratory animal.
It is suspected that individuals whale sharks encountered in Ningaloo Reef, Australia migrate to the Philippines through Indonesia.
In Indonesia, whale sharks are found in the waters of Sabang, West Kalimantan, Berau, Situbondo, Probolinggo, Bali, Nusa Tenggara, Alor, Flores, North Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua. In the Probolinggo area, East Java is seasonal in January-March, while in Kwatisore, Teluk Cenderawasih, West Papua, whale sharks are present throughout the year. Trends in other locations, especially in Talisayan, still need further research.