Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Seychelles Whale Shark Encounter Code

After several people have contacted us regarding the 'Whale Shark Encounter Code' we thought it was sensible to have it easily available on our blog, so here it is:

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
A maximum of 8 people are allowed in the water at any time.

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.
We hope this is useful to you all and wish you a most memorable experience!

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