Ocean Film Fest 2010: Whale Sharks By The Hundreds at Isla Holbox

whale shark island photo

Photo via San Francisco Ocean Film Festival

Isla Holbox is a small island off the coast of Mexico that boasts an unusually large whale shark population. The nutrient-rich waters are a perfect feeding ground for the largest fish in the ocean. Whale sharks congregate here by the hundreds, but that means tourists are now flocking here by the thousands. It's a wonderful possibility for habitat and species conservation since the whale sharks are worth more alive than dead. But what does all that eco-tourism do to the local area? Is it really a paradise for whale sharks, or a precarious situation? This film explores the topic, and director Kip Evans discusses the pros, cons, ups and downs of species preservation. Video after the jump. Evans states, "Whale sharks are widely distributed in all tropical and warm temperate seas throughout the world... Isla Holbox (pronounced "hole-bosh") was a well-kept secret until 6 years ago, when whale sharks were discovered right off its coast. Once a small fishing village with just 1600 year-round residents, Holbox has since become a popular summer tourist destination. Although whale sharks are generally considered solitary animals, they congregate in the waters surrounding Holbox to feed and mate during the summer months. The island is now one of the top places in the world to see and swim with these gentle giants. This film highlights some of the successes and concerns as Holbox transitions from a fishing community to an ecotourism destination."

Here, Evans offers answers to questions about the whale sharks and conservation:

You can check out Isla Holbox: Whale Shark Island in its entirety at Kip Evan's YouTube site.

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