One of the most go-to places in Cebu, is the province of Oslob. It offers a spectacle of a beautiful sea where you can go and interact with whale sharks. It's been wildly celebrated, and a lot of people have been going back to do it.
But there are 4 reasons why you should never take part in swimming with the whale sharks.
1. There is a proper way to get contact and interact with whale sharks
There are no penalty imposed to people who do not follow the right conduct in interacting with whale sharks and a lot of people aren't educated with the proper way.
Whale sharks are protected species in the Philippines. Under Republic Act 9147, an Act for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and habitats in the Philippines, it is illegal to harass them. Studies dictate that whale sharks suffer from an average of 29 human touches per hour.
2. You contribute to the behavioural changes and injuries of the sharks
The feeding in Oslob is teaching whale sharks that boats and humans mean food. Oslob whale sharks are now observed to actively approach boats instead of avoiding them.
This change in the mind setting of the sharks impose inherent risks especially to those sharks that travel to unprotected waters and wrongly approach shark fishing boats. These sharks are also very sensitive to bacterias they aren't commonly exposed to brought about by different kinds of human boats. Excessive friction from rubbing against the side of feeder boats is the cause of many injuries to whale sharks. These that appear mostly white and have a spongy consistency, are the result of the reaction of the skin around the mouth to repeated abrasion. There are also instances where these sharks accidentally approached boats with propellers and got injured.
3. Whale sharks should not overstay in one place
Whale sharks are a highly-migratory species and normally follow the path of nutrient-rich seasonal aggregations of plankton. Whale sharks are known to migrate great distances, across various countries and jurisdictions. A tagged whale shark from the Philippines was found in Taiwan!
Whale sharks in Oslob should only naturally stay for 60 days, the attraction, and the fishermen who feed the whale sharks on a regular basis caused them to overstay. In fact, a whale shark in Oslob stayed for about 392 days – the longest recorded stay for a whale shark. The change in migration patterns could affect the future breeding prospects of these creatures thus furthering their extinction.
4. Sharks get poor nutrition
The lack of nutrition is also a problem. Instead of moving to other areas with nutritious planktons, these sharks overstay in Oslob and are fed with food that do not fully supply their nutritional needs. They even spend more time chasing the feeding boats that don’t necessarily feed them with food with the right amount of nutrition. This is mostly because fishermen boats that feed them aren’t really feeding them but leading them for the tourist attraction.