HONOLULU (KHON) – The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) shared an exciting video of a 30-foot whale shark feeding during their fieldwork off Kaneohe Bay on Thursday.
“It is surprising. They are here more often than we think, however, they are probably hard to come across because like I said, I didn’t see this animal until I hopped in the water,” said Mark Royer, a shark researcher at the University of Hawaii.
HIMB researchers said they found the shark after spotting seabirds flying over what they suspected was bait.
When they dove into the water they were surprised to see something much bigger than what they expected – a 30-foot whale shark feeding on nehu, or Hawaiian anchovy.
“While all the small nehu were being drawn to the surface from all the predators, the whale shark was coming in and using its massive mouth to come up to the surface, open it, and then the suction would cause all the fish to funnel into its huge mouth,” Royer said.
The whale shark is the world’s largest fish. While it’s known to be in Hawaii’s waters, researchers said it’s rarely seen.