Whale-Shark Watching Brings Tourism to Philippine Village

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Whale-shark watching has brought booming tourism to a once-quiet Philippine village, but now biologists are saying it may not be such a great idea, according to the Daily Mail U.K.



Until about two years ago, fishing was one of the chief ways to work in Tan-awan, and fishermen there made a modest living. If the town saw any tourists, they were usually just passing through. But then, Internet postings from a few visitors to Tan-awan reported the fascinating whale sharks that visited the village's waters. People started showing up to see for themselves. Tan-awan went from seeing virtually no tourism to several hundred daily visitors.

Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet. They're also docile, which means tourists don't have to settle for just watching the enormous animals; they can swim with them, too. They only need to pay the fees: 500 pesos to watch (about US$12.24) and 1,500 pesos to swim. But as part of the new business, the fishermen spend seven hours a day feeding shrimp to the sharks to keep them around. Now, biologists are decrying the practice.



Italy-based environmental group Physalus says it's unnatural to have so many whale sharks in one area, interacting with humans. They say it could lead to abnormal social behaviors among the sharks and could spread disease. They don't wish to eliminate the new tourism as an important part of Tan-awan's economy, but emphasize that it must be done in a sustainable way. "You should stop the detrimental effect to the shark, but you should also improve the livelihood of the community as well," said Physalus biologist Samantha Craven. "Real eco-tourism is something entirely achievable."

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rweber6255

Sorsogon, sounds good, I would like to visit there, and advise and contact information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Robert-

March 14 2013 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patrick58k

Never trust a Filipino! Lots of DEAD U>S> Tourists up in Angeles City! And NO investigation complete on ANY of those dead folks! Read "Harrythehorse.com", and back issues, if you doubt my statements! Beware...all those phuckers want...is your CASH!!! DON'T! Go to Pattaya, Thailand, or Phuket! Much safer!!!!

March 14 2013 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patrick58k

well, the gd Filipino banqueros stink! all they wanna do is smoke ''ice'', get drunk on cheap booze, or nasty San Magoo beer, and dream of scrogging a white chick! they abuse the sea life. they dynamite fish daily....give me a break!

March 14 2013 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diva Deluxe L

If the whale sharks dont like it they can swim away. Not like the whales, sharks and dolphins kept at Sea World or some of the zoos. And they are fed daily by humans. Those animals have no choice.

March 14 2013 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diva Deluxe L

If the whales dont like it they can swim away. Not like the sharks and dolphins at Sea World. They have no choice and they are fed daily by humans.

March 14 2013 at 2:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xxxxxxxxxxx

i would so pay 1,500 pesos to swim with a whale shark...

March 14 2013 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nestor

I like the large creature in the foreground of the lead photo! I'd go for a swim with her.

March 13 2013 at 11:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adele Ojeda

whale shark interaction better in Sorsogon.

March 13 2013 at 9:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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