Last week two whale sharks were spotted near the shores of Destin-Fort Walton Beach and have been tagged in a joint effort by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Southern Mississippi, Okaloosa County’s Coastal Resource team, and the fishing community.
As of late, Oliver, the 40 foot male, has been enjoying the emerald waters and abundance of bait off the shores of Pensacola Beach. Ivey, the 25-foot female is still enjoying the sea life off the shore of Destin.
The pair were originally spotted last week by residents and visitors of the Destin area and their videos soon went viral on social media. On July 19, the team of researchers set out on a mission to tag and collect data from the two gentle giants.
Both sharks were then successfully tagged with a satellite and acoustic tag, which sends information if the dorsal fin breaks the surface, and sends location information if the whale shark passes by a receiver. The tags will allow them to track movement patterns and habitat use.
Ivey is a 25-foot female who was named after the daughter of the boat captain that sighted it, and Oliver is a 40-foot female who was named after the child on the boat fishing with his family when they spotted it.