World Ocean Day, held annually on 8 June, has been initiated to raise global awareness, celebration and collaboration for a better future with cleaner, healthier and safer oceans.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect with the current 2016 swimming interaction rate on board whale shark tours in the Ningaloo Reef on Australia's Coral Coast being at a record high of 97% for 2016 to date. Additionally, on 25 June 2016 the Ningaloo Coast will be celebrating five years of UNSECO World Heritage listed certification.
Swimming with the world’s largest fish, the enormous yet gentle giants of the sea, is considered to be a bucket list experience. In 2015, the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia welcomed 20,670 tourists who visited specifically for this experience, noting a 92% sighting rate for the 2015 season. All operators provide a “no sighting” policy, offering guests the next available tour day free of charge. Tourists are encouraged to book a whale shark tour in advance and at the beginning of a holiday.
Whale shark movements to and from the Ningaloo Reef vary from year to year, but this is the second year that the world’s largest fish have arrived earlier than usual (starting mid-February instead of late March following the mass coral spawning). The Coral Bay whale shark experience conducted by its two whale shark operators, Coral Bay Eco Tours and Ningaloo Reef Dive, has seen the largest growth in passenger numbers in 2016, with the 13 whale shark licence operators in Exmouth continuing to welcome strong numbers of enthusiastic tourists.
The 2016 whale shark season should conclude late-June (Coral Bay) and late-July (Exmouth) with the forthcoming Humpback Whale interaction tours anticipated to commence from August 2016.
The Ningaloo Reef is one of the only places on the planet where these huge but completely harmless fish can be reliably located in large aggregations. Whale Sharks are listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ and are protected in Western Australia contributing to the UNSECO World Heritage status of Ningaloo.
Ningaloo’s eco-tourism experience is best practice world-wide for both fish and swimmer. A percentage of each whale shark tour ticket sold goes towards important whale shark research, conservation and protection. This benefits not only the Ningaloo Reef but the world to understand more about the importanrt species.
Visit www.australiascoralcoast.com for information on whale shark swims and to see the latest holiday deals to help plan your next Coral Coast adventure.