Emily went up in a spotter plane last weekend to look for whale sharks, while senior campaign communications manager Dustin Cranor was on the Latitude waiting for word of the sharks’ location so the scientists on board could follow them in order to tag the animals. Unfortunately, the sharks proved elusive. Here’s Dustin’s report:
The whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico spent the weekend hiding from the Oceana Latitude.
The crew spent two days searching for these sharks off the coast of southeastern Louisiana. Our hope was to tag some of them so that we could monitor their movements and contribute to scientists’ understanding of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on their survival. Whale sharks were observed swimming in surface oil near the gushing wellhead earlier this year.
The two spotter planes did have one sighting, but the four whale sharks dove too quickly for us to track them.
Oceana and the University of Southern Mississippi have not given up and will continue the search Tuesday.
Here’s Oceana marine scientist Elizabeth Wilson:
It wasn’t until we reached Grand Isle to drop off the shark experts that we saw a school of what appeared to be silky sharks.
During transit, the experts spent time talking with Associated Press reporter Rich Matthews. One thing is clear, no matter what direction you look in the Gulf of Mexico, there are always oil rigs in the landscape.