Wildlife watchers got a treat this afternoon, as a whale shark was spotted and filmed in Hong Kong waters.
Video of the gentle giant, the largest fish in the ocean, was uploaded to Facebook by Robert Lockyer, an eco-ambassador at NGO EcoMarine. Lockyer said the whale shark was spotted this afternoon.
In his post, Lockyer said the sighting was “an indicator of what is to be expected this season” though added he wasn’t going to give further details about the location as yet.
He said it was the first major reported sighting since June 27, 2012, when one was seen at Sham Wan, a beach on Lamma Island.
Though footage from a fisherman also emerged in 2015, showing on a whale shark off the shores of Tung Lung Chau Island.
Classified as a “vulnerable” species by conservationists, the whale shark can reach up to about 13 metres in length and 21 tons in weight.
At the time of the 2015 sighting, experts attributed the whale shark’s appearance to the success of a trawling ban implemented in 2012.
The law meant that local fishermen were no longer allowed to pull fishing nets through the water behind their boats – sometimes dragging them along the bottom of the sea – a technique that WWF says is unsustainable and may cause irreversible harm to marine ecosystems.