For the past 10 years, Taiwan has been actively fishing whale sharks for their meat, often served in restaurants as “Tofu Shark.” “In 1995, according to records, Taiwan caught 270 whale sharks. In 2001…about 100,” said Zhuang Shouzheng, an associate professor at National Taiwan Ocean University. The numbers of whale sharks have significantly dwindled in recent years, causing the Taiwanese Fisheries Ministry to impose quotas, which were set at 60 and 30 in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
Beginning in 2008, Taiwan will enact a total ban on the trade of whale sharks and whale shark meat. A number of conservation groups have been working in the area for years to stop the killing of whale sharks, and this decision by the Taiwanese government is hailed as a major step towards achieving this objective.