Whale shark sightings off WA promise bumper season

A bumper season is being predicted for tour operators offering trips to see the world’s biggest species of fish.
Whale sharks have been sighted off Western Australia’s mid-north coast, marking the start of a period when some 20,000 people are expected to visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef.
Last year, more than 19,300 set out to get a close-up view of the whale sharks, which migrate to Western Australia between March and August each year to feed on plankton and krill.
Tours offering visitors the chance to swim and dive with the 18-metre-long beasts are becoming increasingly popular, with the Coral Coast’s CEO, David O’Malley, saying he expects to see even more whale shark spotters in 2015, including a rise in international visitors.
“Due to the weakening of the Australian dollar, we’re anticipating an increase in overseas visitors signing up to whale shark tours in 2015,” O’Malley said. “Last year we had the largest number of tours ever to take place in the Coral Coast at 1,133, and a whale shark sighting success rating of 92%.”
The annual Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival will also return this year, from 21-24 May 2015.

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