What we do

The Madagascar Whale Shark Project (MWSP) is a collaborative research and conservation project that was created in 2016, following unexpected high numbers of whale sharks recorded in 2015, thanks to opportunistic data collection by a partner tourism operator, les Baleines Rand’eau. In 2019 we became a registered foundation focusing on three key aspects.

Research

Our main scientific objective is to establish the occurrence, residency and population structure of whale sharks off Nosy Be through photo-identification.
We also are collecting skin samples, investigating prey distribution and have previously satellite-tagged whale sharks.

Conservation

We have implemented a code of conduct since 2017 and are collecting data on the socio-economic value of whale sharks. We also actively support the development of effective legal protection for whale sharks, as well as local management initiatives.

Education

Community engagement is a key tenet of our work, and we currently work in various schools in Nosy Be through our education programme. We also lead workshops on sustainable whale shark interactions while in the field.

Volunteer
Every year, from September to December, we welcome volunteers to the team to collect data on whale sharks. Applications are now open! There are four fixed start dates, and the opportunity to be based in both Nosy Be or Nosy Komba. We require all volunteers to speak fluent French to ensure great experiences for everyone!

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Code of Conduct

We work with local tourism operators directly to share our knowledge and empower local actors of the tourism industry.

From 2023 onwards, following the code of conduct is now compulsory for all operators following the update of the existing inter-ministerial decree regulating interactions with marine megafauna.

Trips
Dates for whale shark trips in 2024 are up! We now organise bespoke trips where we offer our unique expertise and quality whale shark encounters.

A search engine that supports our work

You can now support the Project on Lilo.org , the French search engine that transforms each search into a drop of water for solidarity, which is matched by funding.