Scuba diver fined for pulling whale shark tail in Thailand – DIVE Magazine

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picture of a scuba diver in thailand touching a whale shark's tail
The moment a diver touches the tip of a whale shark’s tail (Photo: Facebook/other social media)

A scuba diver has been fined by Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) for touching a whale shark, according to local reports.

In a video circulating on social media, a group of divers can be seen following the whale shark before one of the divers reaches out to touch the upper tip of the whale shark’s tail, before another diver, presumably the group’s guide or instructor, intervenes.

The incident occurred at the famous Richelieu Rock, a popular sea mount in Koh Surin National Park, frequently visited by liveaboards heading for the Similan Islands.

Whale sharks are a protected species under the Thai Wild Animal Preservation and Protection Act, 2019, which can impose a prison sentence of up to 4 years and a fine of up to 40,000 baht (£862) for transgression.

‘The diving trainer warned all tourists in advance not to touch the inhabitants of the underwater world. However, the foreign tourist ignored the warning. In turn, we immediately reported the incident to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation,’ said Suparat Thoncharoenphong, a spokeswoman for the operator through which the diving was booked, who reported the incident to the DNP. ‘As a result, the authorities imposed the tourist will be fined.’

‘I believe that no travel agencies encourage their customers to touch any marine life but it still occurred,’ added Ms Thoncharoenphong. ‘As a diving enthusiast myself, I cannot condone such actions. Let’s work together to prevent such acts in the future.’

There is no information at present as to the diver’s nationality, or how much of a fine was imposed.

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