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The Whale Shark is the largest of all fishes and is found in tropical and warm temperate waters. It is a slow moving shark that feeds on small crustaceans, squid and fishes from the water using filtering screens on its gills. Whale Sharks may grow up to 18 m in length, but fish of 4 m to 12 m in length are more commonly seen.
The Whale Shark is a pelagic species that occurs in continental shelf and offshore waters in both tropical and warm temperate waters of all oceans. In Australia whale sharks are known primarily from northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. Whale Sharks have been recorded from scattered localities in New South Wales, Victoria and the western Great Australian Bight.
Whale sharks have been recorded around Sydney on a number of occasions. A whale shark was stranded on the beach at Bare Island in 1965. More recently a number of Abyss Scuba Diving staff spotted on a fishing trip out of Botany Bay. The Whale Shark was estimated to be 4 m in length. The group couldn’t believe it as their boat passed by “a very large shark” on April 2011. As quickly as possible they returned to the spot where they saw the shark, but it had ‘disappeared’. After searching for a few minutes, the shark actually swam up to their boat where it remained for 3 to 4 minutes. It circled the boat several times, even raising an eye out of the water to watch the occupants, before swimming away.