Fisherman and Whale Shark @ Oslob, Cebu, Philippines
Oslob is a small municipality in the southern tip of Cebu Island, Philippines. It encompasses 21 barangays (villages), including Tan-awan, where the whale shark feeding occurs. In the 1980s, whale shark hunting was prevalent in the Philippines and researchers recorded at least 627 individuals killed over seven years in the Bohol Sea. Luckily for the whale sharks, the Philippines become one of the first countries in the world to protect them in 1998, by prohibiting the capture, sale, transport or export of whale sharks.
In Tan-awan, the fishermen discovered that they could lead the whale sharks away from fishing boats by luring them with small amounts of sergestid shrimps (locally known as uyap). A dive center owner discovered this and paid the fishermen to lure the whale sharks towards his guests instead of away. The news spread by word of mouth and many people started visiting Oslob to see the whale sharks.
In the beginning, there were no regulations in place for the feeding and the conditions were chaotic and dangerous (for both man and shark). Since then, there have been many new regulations made with regards to the interaction, including a standard briefing as well as a new schedule of fees and visitor guidelines.