Whale sharks are currently afforded no formal protection in Madagascar, except in two Marine Protected Areas located to the southwest and northeast of Nosy Be. “'Over the last decade, shark populations have declined dramatically in Madagascar due to overfishing,” said Dr. Jeremy J. Kiszka, a marine biologist and co-author of the recent study. “However, the most significant threat to this species is the incidental catch in coastal gillnets and industrial purse seiners operating offshore.”
The aforementioned protected areas around Nosy Be are also home to a number of other large marine species, including manta rays, sea turtles and humpback whales. But the migratory nature of many of these creatures – as evidenced by the tagged whale sharks’ movements – shows that many more such protected areas must be established if these marine species are to be safeguarded effectively.