feature

wild files: whale shark rescue offshore thailand

situation

2019 | Gulf of Thailand

  • Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Limited operates the Erawan gas field, Thailand’s first and largest commercial natural gas field.
  • The gas field is located in the Gulf of Thailand about 140 km offshore of Nakhon Si Thammarat province.

During routine operations on October 19, 2019, workers spotted a young whale shark, approximately 16.4 feet (5 meters) long, in distress close to the Erawan-A platform.

A long, thick rope was wrapped around the whale shark’s tail. It is believed the rope came from having been entangled in a fishing net.

Whale shark sightings in gulf of thailand

According to the Thailand Marine and Coastal Resources Department, whale shark sightings are an indicator of rich marine resources in the Gulf of Thailand.

Lear

did you know that the whale shark is the world’s largest fish?

Whale sharks can reach lengths of up to 42 ft (12.8m) long

whale sharks are known as “gentle giants”

Whale shark

slow swimmers
move at a speed of slightly more than 3 mph (4.83 km/hr)

weigh 15-21 tons
(up to 42,000 lbs or 19,050 kg) Approximately the same weight as 11-14 average size automobiles

lifespan from 70 to 100+ years
Able to reproduce around age 30

Whale sharks are listed as an endangered species by the international union for conservation of nature (IUCN) due to losses from fisheries bycatch, ghost fishing nets and vessel strikes.

After calving live young 16 to 24 inches long, adult female whale sharks leave their young to fend for themselves.

Lear

did you know?

less than 10% of whale sharks survive to adulthood

actions taken

whale sharks have pattern of light yellow spots

Whale sharks are recognized by the distinctive pattern of light yellow spots and pale vertical and horizontal stripes against dark gray skin.

The pattern of spots is unique to each whale shark, much like our fingerprints.

Shrimp icon

whale sharks swim close to the surface with their mouths wide open, filter feeding on a diet of plankton, shrimp, small fish and squid.

Tropical seas icon

found in all tropical seas, whale sharks prefer warm water and migrate great distances in their lifetimes.

results

Our actions helped protect the life of an endangered species and demonstrated chevron’s commitment to protecting the environment and wildlife that live around our operations.

our actions were consistent with our goal to
conserve biodiversity:
we strive to avoid or reduce the potential for significant impacts on sensitive species, habitats and ecosystems

Wild Files is a series on Chevron.com that spans the world to cover interesting examples of how we deliver on our commitment to environmental stewardship.

Published: December 2019