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HIMB Shark Lab Spots 30-foot Whale Shark off Kāneʻohe Bay

Photo Credit: Mark Royer

UH News, first published on November 7, 2023

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers spotted the world’s largest fish species, a 30-foot whale shark, a mile off Kāneʻohe Bay near Kualoa Ranch on November 2.

Researchers from the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) Shark Research Lab were returning from conducting field work when they spotted seabirds flying over what they suspected was a bait ball, where small fish swarm in a tightly packed spherical formation near the surface while being pursued and herded by predators below.

Mark Royer, a HIMB shark researcher, went into the water to see what sealife had gathered to feed and was surprised to see the whale shark.

“It is surprising,” said Royer. “[Whale sharks] are here more often than we think, however they are probably hard to come across, because I didn’t see this animal until I hopped in the water.”

Read the full story and video clip on UH News!