Sightings of whale sharks in the Tampa Bay area are increasing.
Recently, a family went fishing on the Gulf of Mexico and captured footage of an incredible shiver of whale sharks. Whale shark sightings in the Gulf of Mexico number 50 to 70 in the summer months, according to a research group in Mississippi--the Gulf Coast Research Lab.
However, sightings near the Tampa area are rare.
"These animals in this area are rare," says Robert Hueter, the associate vice president for research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. "In other parts of the gulf, they're found in very predictable, large numbers."
Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the world and can be found near the delta of the Mississippi River to the Yucatan Peninsulas.
The creatures can reach up to 40 feet long and weigh 11 tons. And while they are called "sharks," the creatures are peaceful. Officials even says its all right to jump in the water with them. There are even companies that organize dives with the creatures.
Just avoid touching them so that the creatures don't become more vulnerable to infection.
Also, be sure to report the sighting to the Gulf Coast Research Lab at gcrl.usm.edu/whaleshark, and call the Mote Marine Center for Shark Research at 941-388-4441.