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Careless boaters at Isla Mujeres likely responsible for whale shark injury

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. — Whale shark tour companies around Isla Mujeres are calling on local authorities to further tighten regulations on boats after an injured whale shark was spotted.

Less than three weeks before the end of the whale shark season, an injured whale shark has been spotted in nearby waters. The whale shark has a long gash on its head that tour companies are saying is likely due to a careless boater.

An official complaint was filed with government officials after the whale shark was seen swimming in the area with the cut. As part of their complaint, the report requests authorities tighten regulations and increase sanctions for boats entering the waters without permission and/or care for the marine life.

They say that boats who enter the area where whale sharks are known to be not only put the integrity of the tourists at risk, but also the protected species.

The complaint was filed by those who are part of the monitoring and surveillance of the whale sharks. They reported that the complaint was filed against a particular vessel that entered the area without even minimum care and boated to where whale sharks are known to be. Since then, they report seeing fish with injuries.

“We cannot say that it was from that vessel, but there are serious suspicions because after this incident, a whale was seen with an injury,” they explained.

Boat and crew of Luca. Photo: Isla Mujeres marine monitoring group

They commented that on that day, the boat Luca arrived in the area and without the minimum measures of care, boated into the defined whale shark area.

“We called their attention, but they ignored the calls. The whole incident was recorded on video and was delivered to the competent authorities,” the monitoring group explained.

They added that when they saw the boat in the whale shark area, they surround it while the crew from Luca slurred insults and made obscene gestures.

“They yelled at us that nothing could be done to them because they were in open sea. After they were done yelling, they got upset with us and fled the area at full speed without taking any care of the area or about the injury to the whale shark,” they added.

They say that the injury to the whale shark is likely that of a propeller.