Northern Gulf of Mexico Whale Shark Sighting Survey

Scientists at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, maintain a database of whale shark sightings in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Your information is vital to a greater understanding of whale sharks in the region and is greatly appreciated. Please complete the form below.

We're very interested in your photographs of whale sharks, especially underwater photographs. Photographs of whale sharks from their left side are particularly useful for identifying individual animals. Registries of whale sharks use the unique spot patterns on an animal's left side to identify individuals.

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Please enter the number 3. Whaleshark

Date of encounter (dd/mm/yyyy)

Time of encounter

Number of whale sharks observed



Description of location (Be as specific as possible. A distance and bearing to a well-known location is helpful. For instance, 15 miles from the east end of Horn Island at a bearing of 160 degrees.)

Water temperature, if available

Estimated length of shark(s) (ft.)

Duration of encounter


Describe behavior of shark(s)

How was your sighting made? (Check all that apply)

If near a petroleum platform, which one? (Name and number)

Were any other fish associated with the whale shark(s)?

If yes, which species?

Approximate number of fish?

Please provide your contact information.


Street Address, City, State, Zip

Email address

Phone: (area code) + number

Were any photographs or video taken? If so, please provide contact information for the photographer if different from above.



Phone: (area code) + number

GCRL Whale Shark Contact

  • Jim Franks
    Research Scientist
    (228) 872-4202
    Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
    703 East Beach Drive
    Ocean Springs, MS 39564
    fax - (228) 872-4204

Photos by GCRL, 2006