Fishermen got a massive surprise while on an over-night fishing trip when they spotted a whale shark near Ocean City.
While on an overnight fishing trip just off the coast of Ocean City, a group of fishermen got a surprise visit from a huge whale shark. The amazingly rare encounter was captured in a video and shared by Facebook user Steve Moore.
Click the link and check out the crazy video, but beware, there is some profanity
as people on board were just that amazed by the sight.
Steven Moore, a full-time captain with Stalker Sportfishing Charters, shared the following caption:
Cory gave me a wake up call this morning at 12:15 saying I had to get up a see this thing!!! Pretty cool to watch it check us out and go away"
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="960"] A photo of the whale shark posted by Steven Moore[/caption]
Moore's video has now been shared more than 4,500 times and viewed nearly 800 thousand times!
Moore told the The Maryland Coast Dispatch
, a local Delmarva publication, that five individuals and the three-man crew were on the charter boat for an overnight fishing trip 68 miles off the shore of Ocean City, beyond the Washington Canyon, when they first spotted the whale shark.
Moore had gone to lay down in his quarters, leaving his first mate Cory Lednum, to watch the fishing lines. Cory spotted the fin of the whale shark around 12:15 a.m., and Moore told the Dispatch that “[Cory] didn’t know exactly what it was... All he knew was that it was big. Once he figured out what it was, he woke me up.”
Bethany Hooper of The Dispatch writes:
Moore said the whale shark swam up to the boat and rubbed its nose down the port side before swimming to the back of the boat and over to the starboard side. He said it remained near the Stalker for no more than a minute. 'It swam to the back of the boat, came right up to the starboard quarter and went under the boat, came out the starboard side then went on its way,' he said. Moore estimates that the whale shark was 30-35 feet long and 10 feet wide at the head. Though it approached the boat, he described the whale shark as being docile."
Moore said he has been fishing off the Ocean City shore line for almost 20 years and has never once spotted a whale shark. The sighting was quite rare indeed, as populations of whale sharks are decreasing and they tend to spend time in deep, warm waters.
About Whale Sharks
Whale sharks can grow to be up to 40 feet long and 41,880 lbs (that's 21 tons)! The whale shark, or the Rhincodon typus, is the largest fish on the planet! They can live for over 70 years and birth up to 300 baby sharks at a time!
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480"] A diver holds a baby whale shark.[/caption]
Ironically, the world's largest fish feeds solely on one of the ocean's tiniest creatures: plankton. The whale shark is commonly referred to as a "gentle giant," as they are filter feeders who simply enjoy the tasty microorganisms the ocean has to offer.
According to See the Wild
, "threats to the whale shark include habitat loss which results in loss of prey species, coastal development resulting in marine pollution, collision with boats, and disturbance or harassment by boats and divers engaged in irresponsible tourism activities." In fact, the only known predator of the whale shark is humans, who hunt the sharks for use of their fins in traditional medicine practices.
As all ocean life is increasingly at risk, there is no doubt about how rare and special Steven Moore's whale shark sighting truly was!
What are your thoughts on the rare sighting? Let us know in the comments below!