Key results from our sixth season

March 27, 2024

Here we go! A little summary of our 2023 season. This year was particularly unusual, and our scientific activities were not as successful as usual. The unpredictable presence of whale sharks and the high number of boats at sea made it extremely difficult for us to work this year.


173 Boat Surveys

243 Shark Sightings

88 Different Sharks Seen

36 New Sharks Identified

525 Unique Sharks Seen Since 2015

78.5% Of Sharks Seen Were Male

3626 Detections Of 47 Tagged Sharks

1 Master Student

20 Volunteers

2 Station Deployments

13 Acoustic Tags Deployed

1 New Law

2 New Important Shark and Ray Areas identified by IUCN

Indeed, the total number of whale sharks identified is much lower than in previous years. By comparison, we are seeing a 40% decline compared with the 2019 and 2022 seasons (our last two seasons, as we were not present in 2020-2021). What’s more, the proportion of new sharks identified is extremely low.

The year 2023 is also an El Nino year, well known for triggering warming episodes in the region. Water temperatures were unusually high, suggesting inherent changes in the composition and distribution of whale shark prey species and other predators in the region.

As let’s not forget: whale sharks are a globally endangered species and are known to decline in the Mozambique Channel region.

The Madagascar Whale Shark Project deliberately remains an independent entity to be able to address impactful issues in the fields of conservation, research and education in Madagascar, with while remaining a committed and collaborative project.

We thank everyone who has either helped, volunteered, donated or supported in one way or another. Thanks to you we can continue our important work.