Whale shark is WA’s new marine animal

Ministerial Media Statement

Hon Colin Barnett MEc MLA
Hon Albert Jacob BEnvDes

10. December 2013


Western Australia to adopt new marine animal emblem

The majestic whale shark will become Western Australia’s new marine animal emblem.

Premier Colin Barnett today announced the selection of the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, at Forest Crescent Primary School, which won a State-wide competition to nominate a marine emblem.

Mr Barnett said the whale shark had become famous for gathering every year during autumn and winter off the coast of Exmouth in the spectacular Ningaloo Marine Park.

“The whale shark is a significant attraction for those visiting Western Australia and reflects the diversity and beauty of the State’s marine life,” he said.

The competition to select a State marine animal emblem was launched by the Premier on WA Day this year, following advice from the State’s Chief Scientist, Lyn Beazley.

A total of 34 (28 metropolitan and 6 regional) entries were received, which were subsequently shortlisted for consideration by an expert panel. The students of Forest Crescent Primary School were selected as the winning submission.

Mr Barnett said the presentation by Forest Crescent displayed the depth of the students’ understanding of their research into marine science.

“The search for Western Australia’s marine animal emblem is a historic process. By taking part, many primary school students across the State have engaged with marine science which has been highly beneficial to them,” the Premier said.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the whale shark was protected in Australian waters under both State and Federal legislation.

“The State Government has created four additional marine parks since 2008 and this process of protecting our marine environments will continue,” Mr Jacob said.

“Western Australia will have a world-class system of parks both on the land and in the sea so species such as whale sharks are conserved for today and future generations.”

The whale shark will join the flower emblem (red and green kangaroo paw), bird emblem (black swan), animal emblem (numbat), and fossil emblem (Gogo fish) as the State’s symbols.

Fact File

  • The whale shark is the world’s biggest living fish and grows up to 12 metres long
  • The last State emblem to be adopted was the fossil emblem – the Gogo fish – in 1995

Source: Government of Western Australia


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