Extract from the foreword by Dr Geoff Taylor
Whale sharks throughout history have inspired mariners with both fear and admiration. No-one can fail to be impressed by their huge size - the largest fish in the ocean. In the western world, they have always been considered rare as they principally occur in tropical waters. In past centuries they were feared as large denizens of the deep.
Thirty years ago there were still huge gaps in our knowledge of whale sharks. There had been few opportunities to study them. We knew little of how they fed, their migration patterns, their behaviour in the water and even how they reproduced. Sightings of whale sharks in many parts of the world were sporadic and unpredictable.
The discovery in the 1980s of seasonal aggregations of whale sharks in certain areas of the tropics created the opportunity for proper observation and research. However most of these locations were in remote areas of the world. One of them was in the Seychelles.
David Rowat came to the Seychelles in 1985. He had a backgound in Zoology and had worked as a medical scientist in UK and the Middle East. But his real passion lay in diving and studying marine life. He came to the Seychelles to start a dive business with his partner Glynis Sanders and found he had landed in a marine environment that would captivate him and keep him there for at least the next 25 years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. David Rowat is the Chairman of the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) and is the regional member of the Shark Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). David and partner Glynis Sanders moved to Seychelles in 1985 as owners of Seychelles Underwater Centre and found whale sharks in the area in their very first year of diving here. Researching their occurrence further revealed that since 1870 Seychelles had been described as a significant area globally for the species but since then little formal research had ever been conducted on these animals in the area.