On Friday we told you about the first reading of the comprehensive fisheries reform law at the House meeting. It is the first significant revision to the 70 year old fisheries act that covers management of protected sites, illegal fishing among many other themes. Well, if only there was a bill or law that would summon all the whale sharks at the Gladden Spit Silk Cayes Marine Reserve during March and June â€“ now that would certainly make tour guides happy. Tour guide Brian Young Sr. from Seahorse Dive Shop in Placencia says his whale shark tour is on the brink of shutting down because the whale sharks are not coming around anymore. And no whale sharks means no tourists. First Young talks about the good ole' days when he started the tour and the tourists would be surrounded by these gentle beasts.
Brian Young Sr. - Veteran Fisherman
"When I started the whale shark tours out there, we didn't know that the whale sharks were coming to the area to feed on the eggs of the spawning fish out there, we didn't know that. So we were operating in a huge area, up and down trying to find a whale shark. When we learned that the whale sharks were actually feeding on the eggs of the cubera snapper and the dog snapper, that's when I minimized that area that I was working in because now I know the area, though it species concentrate in. As soon as I see the little school or bar jacks, I know this an area where the cubera could be, so then I would let go the rope and I would dive down through the jacks and sure enough, you see school of cubera snappers. Come up back, everybody get ready, I go forward and we throw over our divers and have the world of experience with whale sharks."
Young also discussed what he is doing now to try and save his tour.
Brian Young Sr.
"I was contemplating whether we offer it this year or not but we did offer it this year, with explanation of what people are to expect and sadly, this might be the last year I offer that tour. However, we will still do the whale shark tours but do it differently and that I'm experimenting with right now. It means that we are going to be doing a lot of searching because they're not coming to the specific area where they use to come. At Gladden Split, we use to operate in a one square mile area, the experimenting I'm doing right is covering a 24 square mile area. The whale sharks are native of the area, we always see them when we go out commercial fishing and sport fishing, we always meet them with the tunas, always. That's the kind of tour I'm going to start experimenting with and offer, versus, the diving where we go directly to Gladden Split, to a specific area and wait for the whale sharks to come with the spawning aggregation."