Jayapura (ANTARA) - New whale sharks were found in the waters of Cendrawasih Bay National Park (TNTC) in Nabire, Central Papua, during joint monitoring by Pertamina International Shipping (PIS) and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

"The finding shows an increase in whale shark population in the area," said Muhammad Aryomekka Firdaus, PIS corporate secretary, in a statement issued by the subsidiary of state-run oil and gas company Pertamina on Tuesday.

He said that the monitoring, which has been underway in the last few months, demonstrates PIS commitment to supporting the sustainability of the marine ecosystem, particularly in eastern Indonesia.

In line with this commitment, PIS has become one of the parties managing the Whale Shark Center in Kwatisore, Nabire, which runs several programs, including conservation and endangered species monitoring.

Joint monitoring efforts since November 2023 have identified new whale sharks in TNTC, increasing the population from an initial count of 195 to 203 as of May 2024, according to Sumaryono, the national park's habitat ecosystem controller.

"Hopefully, this number will continue to grow in the future, allowing us to effectively monitor the population and movement of whale sharks in the TNTC area," he said.

Besides monitoring, conservation efforts continue with the tagging of whale sharks to record and observe whale shark behavior in the waters. The data collected is used to study the migration routes of the fish in the Papuan waters.

"We will match the data with the shipping routes of PIS ships in Papua," he said, adding that it will ensure that the ship routes do not disturb the whale sharks.

He remarked that, in the future, this data can also be accessed by other ships.

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Translator: Qadri Pratiwi, Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Anton Santoso
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