Cutting-edge tech proves Australian whale shark tourism leads the world

28 Feb 2024
Whale shark surrounded by small fish
Image: Murdoch University

Using technology akin to a ‘fitbit’ for sharks, a team of researchers, including The University of Queensland's Dr Samantha Reynolds, has tagged and tracked whale sharks to study the effects of tourism at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia for the first time.

In a resounding endorsement of local tourism practices, the research found the activity of boats and divers has minimal impacts.

While the research found evidence of some increases in activity levels and directional changes by the sharks when tourists were swimming with them, experts say each shark’s exposure was very limited.

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