The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) eco-tourism industry in Oslob, Cebu has been facing criticism from some conservationists who say that the feeding of the sharks by locals is resulting in unnatural behavior for the world’s largest fish. Critics argue that feeding the whale sharks could make the animals dependent on humans for food and have a negative effect on the sharks ability to find food on their own.
Researchers have expressed similar concerns in the past and have noted that the feeding of the sharks could affect natural migration patterns and make the whale shark more susceptible to poaching and boat-related injuries.
Proponents of Oslob’s whale shark eco-tourism industry say that the sharks are not being harmed, and the industry helps to support the community. Another often-cited benefit of shark-related eco-tourism is that it helps raise awareness about sharks, which can be beneficial to conservation efforts.