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    About the Project

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    Project

    Save the Whale Shark

    Client brief

    Develop a poster for Gujarati fishermen about the need to protect the Whale Shark.

    This would include

    Ban on hunting them.

    Ban on trading the whale shark (that is, even if then find a whale shark dead on

    the beach, they should not sell or buy the same)

    The whale shark is migratory

    It is slow breeding, low number of youth

    It reaches sexually maturity late 25 years.

    It keeps the water clean

    Reasons for choosing this project

    - I love the ocean and would get a chance to visit it in the course of the project- Having seen the whale shark once, I have a special fondness for it.- They are endangered and would not last long if the killing continues at the

    present rate.- Since they play an important role in the marine ecosystem, the current rate of killing

    would pose as a severe thereat in the future. - It is not right to impose a ban on killing of the fish without explaining to the fishermen

    the rationale behind it. Educating them about the situation is very important as it

    involves their livelihood. - By doing this project I would get to understand some of the essential concepts of

    communication design. - Since I have never designed for untutored people, it would be a good learning

    experience to understand their viewpoint and design accordingly.

    What would I learn in the course of this project?

    Through my first project, I intend to understand:- Pictographic communication- Perception, analysis and synthesis of information- Communication:

    Effective communication

    Communication techniques their strengths / weaknesses

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    Research

    About Whale Sharks

    Whale sharks, the only species in their family (Rhincodontidae) are pelagic (of the

    ocean waters), plankton eating fish, distributed through the worlds tropical and

    warm temperate seas. These largest of fish family are rarely encountered and

    unknown till the mid 1980s. Its massive, fusiform body reaches lengths in excess

    of 46 feet (14 m) and weighs around 8 10 tonnes. They are Ovoviviparous and

    the number of young ones they produce is yet unclear. Joung et al ,1996 reported

    whale sharks producing an estimated 300 live young. This information is to be

    confirmed. They are slow growing and are thought to reach maturation when

    close to 9m long or 30 years of age. Earlier data suggested that they live unto an

    age of 65 but new recalculated data based on certain findings estimate an age

    unto about 125 years. (Fowler 2000)

    It occurs both in coastal and pelagic waters and is found in a band around

    equator between 30 0N to 35 0S. It occurs throughout the Indian Ocean and has

    been reported from Maldives, Seychelles, Comoros Islands, Madagascar, South

    Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia

    the Mediterranean and India (Coleman, 1997). Whale Sharks are recorded in

    surface sea water temperatures of 18 o to 30 oC, with most reported at 21 o to 25 oC.

    (Fowler, 2000).

    Migration whale shark is not well understood and there are a few theories, which

    are yet to be conclusively proven (Fowler 2000). For e.g. In some locations they

    are known to be year round and other, only seasonal aggregations during a

    particular period of the year. It is not known if the migration is a part of their life

    cycle, confined to an age class, sex based or have fixed patterns.

    Their distributions are thought to be cosmopolitan and are a naturally less

    abundant species and because of their late attainment of sexual maturity their

    populations are thus highly susceptible to over fishing. They are thought to targethigh-density food sources such as thick soups of plankton, for example

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    zooplanktons feeding on slicks of coral spawn off Ningaloo Reef in Australia, and

    copepod blooms off of Baja, Mexico. Whale sharks undertake large-scale and

    possibly transoceanic migrations in search of, or targeting, these patches of food.

    However, the information so far is still not complete, many aspects such as

    biology, life history and migration are yet to be studied and understood.

    The Indian scenario

    Available records show the predominance of Whale Shark occurrence on the

    Western Coast of India, with very few reports from the East Coast.

    Hanefee (2001) carried a detailed assessment of the whale shark trade in Gujarat

    between 1998 and 2000 and highlighted that the Gujarat fishermen were hunting

    more than 250 whale sharks annually suggesting that the congregation of whale

    sharks off the Gujarat coast may perhaps be the largest in the world.

    Research on the Whale sharks in India was stared only recently. South Africa,

    Australia and the United States are perhaps amongst the few other countries that

    have also recently started research on the fish.

    Despite the trade data by TRAFFIC, which revealed hunting (before the

    protection of the species by the WPA) of over 250 whale sharks, India is not

    recognized by scientific institutions as having the one of the world's largest

    migratory congregation of whale sharks. This is because of the absence of a

    comprehensive scientific survey and census and the publication of the same.

    About the Gujarati fishermen

    Social Structure of Fish worker Communities

    The South Saurashtra coast is dotted with big and small ports. There are three

    traditional fishing communitiesHindu Kharwa, Kharwa-Koli and Muslim

    Machiyara. The Hindu Kharwa community is dominant in the big ports like

    Veraval and Porbandar where they own big boats. This community is rich andenjoys political representation and clout in the state. Hindu Kharwas have

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    members in the Legislative Assembly and some have even become ministers in

    the government. The Kharwa Koli is also a traditional Hindu fishing community,

    but it is not economically as well off as the Hindu Kharwa community and is

    considered socially lower. The Kharwa Kolis are mainly navigators and

    crewmembers and are rarely boat owners. The Muslim Machhiyara community,

    migrated from Sind about 400 years ago, is found in the small ports or baru. This

    community is poor and lives in huts near the sea. It has no entitlement to either

    house or land.

    Structure of Fisheries Industry

    The Hindu Kharwas dominate the fishing activities on the Saurashtra Coast. Theyare the big boat owners and in exceptional cases, some boats are owned by the

    Kharwa-Koli or Muslim Machhiyaras. Fish procuring and exports are controlled by

    Muslim traders based in Veraval or Bombay and also a few Hindu Kharwas. The

    skilled workers engaged in the cleaning and packing of fish for exports are

    migrant women from Kerala. From the mid-1980s, due to rising unemployment

    and land alienation due to industrialisation, members of the Koli and Dalit

    communities, who were earlier either small farmers or landless labourers, turned

    to fishing for their livelihoods. They became crew members on the big boats and

    worked in semi-bonded conditions after having taken loans from the boat owners.

    Due to their poverty, even children from these communities are put to work.

    Killing of whale shark:

    Past Situation

    In the late 1980s the discovery of whale shark and possibility of its fishing came

    as a boon to the fishermen of Gujarat (Hanefee 2001). The fish proved to be a

    source of income at time when other fish catches off the Gujarat coast were

    declining. This was also the time when fish exports to Europe and several other

    countries declined. Most countries are slowly realising that whale sharks are

    worth far more alive through the tourist trade, than dead. Consequently, several

    countries, such as the Maldives and the Philippines, have recently passed laws

    protecting whale sharks.

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    It is assumed that the ban by several range countries increased the overseas

    demand of whale shark products from India making the exporters realize that it

    was a lucrative business. The fishermen were lured by the sizeable income

    arising from the fishery and soon the whale shark became a target fishery

    (Hanefee 2001). They succeeded in making big catches thus making it their full

    time occupation than just a bonus in earlier days deriving significant monetary

    returns.

    By 2000, the value of an average sized 7-9 m whale shark was about Rs.

    150,000 ( for its liver, fins, meat, cartilage and skin. Most of this is exported to

    south east Asian countries. The liver oil is used locally for seasoning and

    waterproofing of boats.) The annual trade revenue of 1999-2000 from this fish

    was Rs.3,09,00,000. (Source: Vivekanandan and Zala( 1994), Puthran (2000),

    Hanefee(2001)

    In July 2001, after Mike Pandeys film and the TRAFFIC study and campaigns

    by many NGOs, in a groundbreaking decision by the Ministry of environment, the

    Whale shark was given maximum protection by including it in Schedule I of

    Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Thus, making whale shark the first marin

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