The world’s largest fish species, whale sharks, were sighted in the Bay of Bengal, Rakhine State, earlier this month.

Whale sharks are usually sighted around the Andaman Sea (near The Mergui Archipelago) and the Bay of Bengal around February to May. However, the whale sharks made a surprising visit to Myanmar in early January, at the Bay of Bengal this year.

In February 2001, Senior General Than Shwe put the endangered species under protection laws, and these laws are enforced today by the Myanmar Government and ensured to have Whale Shark Monitors. It is also reported that this could free two big whale sharks on January 4th, 2021 with Ngapali Beach Pearl Diver Ko Myo Naing, but there was no confirmation.

These protection laws have also saved an endangered whale shark unharmed back into the sea with help from the Rakhine fishermen in early January 2021.

The footage below shows young men cooperating to release the whale shark back to sea as it struggles to escape the net.

This was not their first encounter, for the whale sharks have washed ashore before. The whales were killed for meat, shark fins, fish oils, and their skin for luxury items. However, these acts are now illegal and are protected under international and Myanmar Laws for the endangered species.

Last month, a whale shark was found dead on the shore of Mergui Archipelago island with a deep open wound on the back, and the authorities are still under investigation of this whale’s death.

Credit: Elevenmedia

On a positive note, the whale shark found at Ngwe Saung is safe and sound, and it has found the way back to the natural wildlife.


Feature Image Credit:

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  1. Myanmar Big Fish 100 millions $US ECO Tourism Income for Ngapali & Gwa Beach Subject: Whale @ Ngapali Beach 4.1.2001 – 4.1.2023
    & below ” Ngapali – Natural Wonderland ” LA Times, Carl Duncan & Oliver E Soe Thet from 2001,contains,Fish+culture+Pacific+Coast+U+S&mode=advanced&offset=0

    Andreas Greetings from Oliver – Whale Sharks @ Ngapali Beach Front 4.1.2001 to 4.1.2022 Whale Sharks near by near Kyauk Kalat & Moe Yon behind Pearl Island. The Movie attached is from 10./11.1.2021 near GAW Beach behind Ngapali Airport – Near Zin Kaung Island ( // ) – we were there 25 minutes to late that day as we followed the Whale Sharks there last year the fishermen took well care not to harm and Free the Whale Shark ( in Australia a hundreds of millions of $ US Tourism Business in Myanmar the past 20 years Governments and Myanmar Tourism Ministry – Industry never started to promote well , so Senior General Than Shwe protected them on 1.2.2001 after we were able with Ngapali Pearl Diver Ko Myo Naing to rescue two whale sharks on 4.1.2001 – NOT 2021 !!) There should be a Whale Shark watching Management team for Ngapali & Gwa Beaches than also ensures all animal welfare rules and international laws are followed and ensured by Maritime Police Myanmar and Coast Guard. Which ensures there is an early info system in cooperation with Fishermen which spot them first by phone , GPS and than Info News alert as they stay several days following the food chain it could be best for last minute Tourism to Ngapali , Yangon Scuba Dive society ( which were in Ngapali in November for a several days mission ) could arrange such Trips . This could be Major Boom for Marine ECO Tourism to Ngapali Beach & Gwa Beach at International standards. The Myanmar Coastal Guard and Myanmar Maritime Police could also support and watch as Gen Min Aung Hlaing stated in his late 2021 speech when opened the Coast Guard in Yangon ” they are also in charge for Environmental Protection and Marine Live protection… ” ( I have a Whale Sharks in Ngapali Center here at Oliver`s Lagunas ECO Lodge Ngapali Beach since 2001 ) and follow all their way since – we also saw them on 11.1.2004 as family of whale sharks when we were coming from Ohn Kyun at near sunset they followed our bigger fishing boat for 20 / 30 minutes .. As we have whale sharks these days again in Ngapali Beach ( always coincide with the January Full moon as they follow their food and come up with the then ” Blooming of Corals ” lead krill style smallest fish eat and float to surface the whale shark follows up and we can see . As they also can be 180 meter deep diving. I am on the story where a whale shark apparently followed the food chain and ramped a small boat with Tourists of Thande Ngapali Beach Hotel and the boat capsized people went into other boats here I wait for details so the Tourism Police yesterday 6.1.23 also confirmed that the whale sharks in families were there and are in Ngapali Beach waters. The Myanmore story below of 30.1.2021 by Ma May Phyu Khin is great I only saw today as I was looking for more news on it. There is a small Mistake here : It is also reported that this could free two big whale sharks on January 4th, 2021 ( it was on 4.1.2001 )with Ngapali Beach Pearl Diver Ko Myo Naing ( he passed away already his daughters and Family stay with me here ) , but there was no confirmation. ( I was the one which initiated this on 4.1.2001 when three got caught , one killed already the other two we could free with MN Government and specially D Minister Tourism U Aye Myint Kyu that time,.. and Than Shwe one moth later issues the law. — Important it was 2001 not 2021 and Ko Myo Naing my old friend passed away some years ago – his daughters Khin Khin Myo and Khi Khin Toe work since years in our ” Oliver`s Laguna ECO Lodge ” and the family stay at our place… I have Pictures of Ko Myo Naing when he is with the Whale Sharks in Ngapali Beach 4.1.2001 ” The Independence day of Myanmar and than also for 2 Whale Sharks ” )


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