At Piranha Divers, we do not offer or endorse local diving with whale sharks as they are held in captivity (with little room to move), rather than their natural environment. Trapping these magnificent animals is simply against our principles. As ambassadors of the ocean, we are expected to have an appreciation for the important role marine life plays in the survival of our planet. We must take responsibility for our surroundings and not harm the ocean and life that resides there.
Whale sharks are listed as an Endangered Species under the IUCN Red List and must be protected.
Why we believe every responsible diver should refrain from diving with caged whale sharks in Okinawa:
- The whale sharks are not fed enough. Dive guides will typically bring a bag of krill for each dive, in order to entice the whale sharks toward divers and snorkelers. This amount of food is hardly enough to feed up to three huge whale sharks.
A juvenile whale shark requires 21kg/46lbs of plankton per day; therefore, the small amount of krill carried by divestaff on each dive, is far from adequate!
- While feeding, whale sharks often scrape along the net structure. The net is several years old and is covered in sharp marine life and corals, which cut into the shark's skin. Untreated infections can be seen on the shark's fins and mouths.
- Whale sharks are typically very docile creatures, however, large groups of divers and snorkelers, entering the cage daily, can cause permanent stress. This often results in the whale sharks acting aggressively towards visitors.
- The size of the net is depressingly small. It is designed to offer visitors 100% chance of seeing the whale sharks. Being so confined and stressed, they do not live very long.
- The operators of the whale shark cage have no association with the Aquarium or any other scientific research project here in Okinawa, despite some claims.
- It's not safe for divers! Recreational divers (of any agency) are not trained to dive in an overhead environment and usually do not carry the necessary gear to execute such dives in a safe manner.