First of all the personal, in-water encounter code:
The following code of conduct has been approved by the Government of Seychelles and was developed through two public workshops; it is based on input from experts and several years of experience of whale shark tourism in Western Australia. The Code is designed to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience when swimming with whale sharks while preventing the animals from being harmed or disturbed.
Swimmers and divers must not :
- Attempt to touch or ride on a whale shark
- Restrict the normal movements or behaviour of the whale shark
- Approach closer than 3 metres from the head or body and 4 metres from the tail
- Undertake flash photography
- Use motorised propulsion
For the operators of boats, both private and commercial, the following code also applies:
In recognition of ‘The Wild Animals Protection Regulations 2003’, this encounter policy will enable the wise development of eco-tourism activities based upon the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) while protecting the animal from excessive disturbance by vessels, swimmers and divers.
- A contact vessel should raise the designated flag.
- No other vessel is permitted in this zone.
- A vessel must not exceed 8 knots (14.6 km/hr) in a contact zone and 2 knots (3.6 km/hr) within 50 metres of the contact whale shark.
- Contact period should not exceed 30 minutes if there are other vessels queuing to view the shark.
- The shark should be approached head on or from the side whenever possible
- The vessel must maintain a distance of at least 10m from the nearest whale shark
- The operator of a vessel shall record the details of the contact on the form provided and return this to the appropriate authority within the time specified.