Press releases


Celebrating the Gentle Giant, the Whale Shark – World’s Largest Fish

Ahmedabad, 28th August 2020: Key stakeholders from across the globe working on the conservation of the endangered species ‘Whale Shark’ came together today to commemorate International Whale Shark Day which will be observed on 30 August. Sixteen years after pioneering a deep dive into whale shark conservation, Wildlife Trust of India and its partner Tata Chemicals Limited have much to celebrate with the Gujarat Forest Department and the fishing community living along the coast of this maritime state.

Whale Shark – The gentle giant is an endangered and the first fish breed to enjoy protection equal to that of the tiger, lion and elephant in India. The large scale hunting of the whale shark in Gujarat prompted Wildlife Trust of India to launch a campaign with Tata Chemicals Limited in 2004.

Covering prominent coastal towns and villages in the state, the conservation campaign message delivered through the popular religious leader Shri Morari Bapu touched the hearts of many, related street plays were carried out and exhibition of a life-sized inflatable model of the Whale Shark that is put up every year by TCSRD managed to capture each ones attention and turned hunters into protectors. More than 780 whale sharks have been voluntarily released by the fishermen between 2004 and June 2020 as a result of the conservation project activities. The Gujarat government contributed to this noble cause by compensating fishermen for the nets damaged in the process of rescuing the huge as well as baby whale sharks.

Subsequent to these activities, satellite tagging of whale sharks depicted interesting study and insights on this gentle species such as the long distances these gentle giants would cover across the ocean – their migratory pattern and spotting neonates off Gujarat coastline that indicated the breeding of whale sharks in these waters.

This pioneering marine project has won accolades across the world, attracting the association of an international scientific community on the advisory council of this project. The celebration gathering conducted through the online platform also focused on opportunities and challenges in Whale Shark Conservation. The event witnessed participation by eminent names involved in shark conservation, such as Dr. Mark Meekan from Australia, Dr. Rachel Graham from Belize and Dr. Simon Pierce from Mozambique.

Mr. Vivek Menon, ED & CEO of WTI in his welcome address added, "Recent records of neonates and pre-juveniles from Gujarat waters by the project team means that whale sharks are breeding along the Gujarat coast which is a really good sign. For conservation action to give results, whether for species or habitats, we believe that sustained long-term support is essential. TCL has been supporting the whale shark conservation for more than 15 years now, we thank them sincerely"

“Being a part of the Whale shark day and the conservation effort to save these gentle giants reminds us once again that Biodiversity is the key to our survival and long term sustainability goals. It is not just one beautiful and endangered species that we are saving but, it is our significant effort towards a holistic approach for the protection and conservation of biodiversity. Such initiatives to halt biodiversity loss is the reaffirmation of our commitment toward our stakeholder communities.” said Ms. Alka Talwar, Chief CSR and Sustainability officer of Tata Chemicals Ltd.

As a next step, the Whale Shark Conservation team will be extending the conservation programme to the other coastal state of India. To endorse its’ support to the cause, the event was graced by Shri Surendra Kumar IFS the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala in the presence of the existing team comprising of Mr Sanjay Srivastava IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh, Gujarat, Ms. Alka Talwar, Chief CSR and Sustainability officer of Tata Chemicals Ltd. and Prof. BC Choudhury, Executive Trustee and Mr Vivek Menon ED and CEO of Wildlife Trust of India.

Also, as a run up to the International whale shark Day celebrations, the project team conducted various activities locally that included beach clean-up drives, online painting and quiz competitions for school students and the winners of these competition were announced at this online event.

About Tata Chemicals Ltd.
A part of the over US$ 110 billion Tata Group, Tata Chemicals Limited, is a global company with interests in businesses that focus on Basic Chemistry Products and Specialty Chemistry Products. The story of the company is about harnessing the fruits of science for goals that go beyond business. The company’s Basic Chemistry product range provides key ingredients to some of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass, detergents and other industrial products. Tata Chemicals currently is the world’s third largest producer of soda ash with manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. The company has a strong position in the crop protection business through its subsidiary company Rallis India Ltd. Tata Chemicals has established world class R&D capabilities with a dedicated band of research and scientific personnel working at its facilities in Pune and Bangalore in the emerging areas of material sciences, nutritional sciences, nanotechnology, biotechnology and agriculture sciences.

About Wildlife Trust of India
Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is a leading Indian nature conservation organisation committed to the service of nature. Its mission is to conserve wildlife and its habitat and to work for the welfare of individual wild animals, in partnership with communities and governments. WTI’s team of 150 dedicated professionals work towards achieving its vision of a secure natural heritage of India, in six priority landscapes, knit holistically together by nine key strategies or Big Ideas.

For more information please contact:

R Nanda | Manisha Keshwa
Corporate Communications
TATA Chemicals Ltd.
Tel: +91 22 66437468 | + 91 8879288634
Email: |

Amlan Dutta
Wildlife Trust of India
Mobile: + 91 9582200965