Before the mid 1990’s, whale sharks had little commercial value; however, the discovery that whale shark flesh could be served as ‘Tofu shark’ in Asian restaurants created an overnight market. Whale shark populations around Taiwan, India and the Philippines soon became severely depleted to fulfil the market’s needs. This prompted the listing of the species both on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Ever since the first sighting off Seychelles, whale sharks have been recorded as regular visitors to this area and in many ways prompted the formation of the MCSS to find out more about the rare marine life of the region. Unfortunately, due to very few sightings we no longer run our whale shark monitoring programme in Seychelles but we still support a short term annual programme in Djibouti.