Footage of a whale shark swimming in southern Israel near Eilat was captures on Wednesday by an Israeli family while they were sailing off the shores of the southern city.
Yair Gadej, who noticed the largest fish in the seas, took photos and a video and later posted them on the “Sharks in Israel” foundation’s Facebook page.
“We were cruising in a boat which has a glass window on the bottom so people could see what’s below, Gadej told Ynet. "When we neared Eilat’s underwater observatory, we noticed a large fish. I went down to the bottom of the ship, where visibility was best, and saw the whale shark. It was a great experience. It’s rare to see a whale shark in Eilat, and it’s very exciting,” he said.
"Whale sharks tend to visit the Eilat bay every year during the spring and summer, the “Sharks in Israel” foundation said. "Sightings of them were rare this year and it’s exciting to see one again. Unfortunately, many times ships hit them, and two such accidents were reported during 2022.
"To prevent hitting them, it’s important to remember to vigilantly watch the water and to stop the ship’s engine once someone notices a whale shark. The foundation can recognize the whale sharks by the spotted pattern on the side of their body, and tell if it was here before. We can also follow its route,” the foundation said.
The whale shark is known for its slow movement. they are not mammals, and can reach between 12 and 18 meters ( 46 to 60 feet) in length. They are not dangerous, making them a favored sight for divers and underwater photographers.
Whale sharks feed from microscopic life forms called zooplankton, and help balance its population, thus filling an important part in the ocean’s ecosystem and food chain.
First published: 19:58, 09.01.22