VOA TV to Africa has posted this news feature about whale shark (Rhincodon typus) conservation efforts in Kenya. While measures have been taken in Kenya to protect whale sharks, it is currently still legal for fisherman to harvest the species.
A fisherman interviewed in the report point out that a whale shark is an attractive catch due to its large liver. Oil from a whale shark’s liver is a valuable commodity for fisherman, and a single whale shark’s liver can last a fisherman multiple years. The report also notes that fins from smaller reef sharks are also a prized commodity. The sale of the fins, meat, and liver of one reef shark can generate enough income to sustain a family for an entire month, according to the report.
The Kenyan-based East African Whale Shark Trust has been promoting the protection of the species through public-awareness campaigns. The campaigns educate the public about the value of the sharks to the environment and to Kenya’s eco-tourism market in hope to decrease the demands for whale shark liver oil.