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Conservationists condemn killing of ‘beautiful, harmless’ whale shark in Aqaba

By Hana Namrouqa - Jul 16,2017 - Last updated at Jul 16,2017

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species categorises the whale shark as an endangered species (Photo courtesy of the National Geographic website)

AMMAN — The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS) on Saturday called on authorities to open an investigation into the killing of a whale shark in Aqaba.

JREDS Executive Director Ehab Eid expressed sadness over the killing of the whale shark, underscoring that “the very beautiful and harmless creature” is a globally endangered species.

“It is unclear until this moment who is responsible for the killing of the whale shark or what the circumstances were. The incident took place at a port and some people claim that it was struck by a vessel,” Eid told The Jordan Times.

He urged authorities to take “serious action” to uncover how the whale shark was killed, in order to hold those responsible accountable.

“We are going to send official letters to the Ministry of Environment and the Aqaba Ports Corporation and demand that a transparent investigation be opened. The society should have been contacted to examine the shark,” Eid underscored.

In a statement to the press, the society called on all concerned parties to take the issue seriously and open a transparent investigation to understand the reasons behind the killing of the animal, indicating that it will take all appropriate measures and actions to follow up on the issue. 

“Whether or not the whale shark had been killed in a vessel strike as claimed, employees at ports and beach goers need to understand that whale sharks are tame, harmless and enjoy the company of people,” Eid said.

The whale shark is an annual visitor to Aqaba waters during summer, and swimmers and divers have been seen enjoying swimming close to them and taking photos with the creature.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species categorises the whale shark as an endangered species. 

The whale shark has been listed in a number of international conventions and agreements. The species is included in Annex I (Highly Migratory Species) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which provides a framework for the conservation and management of fisheries, and other uses of the seas.


It is also listed in Annex II of the Convention on Migratory Species, to which Jordan has been a signatory since 2001, according to Eid, who added that nine Arab countries, including Jordan, have signed a memorandum of understanding on the conservation of migratory sharks under the framework of the United Nations Environment Programme on Migratory Species in 2010.

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