Whale shark telemetry

Scott Eckert, WIDECAST

Dataset credit

Scott Eckert, WIDECAST


Primary contact Scott Eckert WIDECAST c/o Principia College
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Management of whale shark Rhincodon typus populations is hampered by a lack of information on the range travelled by individual whale sharks. This applies particularly in South-east Asia where the whale shark is increasingly used in commercial trade and for ecotourism. In this study an investigation of themovements of individual whale sharks from the greater Sulu Sea region was initiated using satellite telemetry. The movements of six sharks were monitored from 7 to 128 days. Two sharks travelled distances of 4567 and 8025 km. Both sharks moved through multiple political jurisdictions, confirming the need to manage the populations on a multilateral or regional level.


This study was undertaken to evaluate whether whale sharks found in Malaysian and Philippine water are a shared stock. Differential management models (complete protection or managed harvest) of whale shark stocks between these national jurisdictions should be harmonized if such stocks are shared. By satellite tracking sharks found in each nation's waters, it should be possible to determine if individual animals move between jurisdictions.

Supplemental information

Argos raw data are included in the downloaded zip file.


Eckert, S.A., L.L. Dolar, G.L. Kooyman, W. Perrin, R.A. Ridzwan. 2002. Movements of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) in Southeast Asia waters as determined by satellite telemetry. Journal of Zoology (Lond). 257:111-115.



This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downloadable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission.

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
animal_idAnimal ID
ptt_idPTT ID
date_gmtDate at GMT
minute_gmtMinutes after midnight at GMT
gmt_hoursHours at GMT
obs_dateDate at local time zone
obs_timeTime at local time zone
qualityQuality flag
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
column_ldefinition not provided
column_mdefinition not provided
column_ndefinition not provided
speciesSpecies name
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_countNumber of animals (always 1) added by OBIS-SEAMAP
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks1,695
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin1998-02-03
Date, End1998-06-11
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude3.81 - 13.17
Longitude106.10 - 124.79
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 2139)
Traveled (km)20,611
Travel hours6,273
Contr. through
Sharing policy Permission required
Shared with None
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See metadata in FGDC XML
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