Java Team
Rescues Endangered
Whale Shark

Java Team Rescues Endangered Whale Shark

Joshua Restauro, 4ocean Story Editor

It was like any other morning for the fishermen of Banyuwangi in East Java, Indonesia. Tumidi was hauling in sardines when something massive got tangled in his net.

It caught the attention of the other fishermen nearby, and upon inspection, they found a rare surprise. Wriggling in Tumidi’s net was a 43ft whale shark trying to feed on his catch.

Video by: @triptelukbiru

With a remaining population of 120,000-240,000, whale sharks are considered critically endangered and have been a fully protected species through the Decree of the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries since 2013. These gentle giants are known to graze in the waters of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and other parts of the Asia Pacific.

East Java is among the migration routes of whale sharks, hosting a variety of small fishes, mollusks, and phytoplankton, which make up the diet of this fish species. Cleanup team leader, Abi, reports that he and his community often see whale sharks washed up on the shores of Banyuwangi.


Image: Pewtrust.org


Plastic pollution has detrimental effects on all forms of life, but it is disastrous for a filter feeder.

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It was a fortunate day for the whale shark that was accidentally caught by Tumidi, who quickly sprang to action and notified 4ocean's East Java team for assistance.

The 4ocean team joined concerned community members to work together to untangle the whale shark from the net before it got injured. Thankfully, after what seemed like an hour, their efforts were successful. After safely cutting the net that wrapped the whale shark's body, the team released the gentle giant back to the sea.

When talking with the community of Banyuwangi, they shared their feelings of tremendous pride for helping this whale shark by working with the 4ocean team. It is a direct result of the conservation efforts and community education by the Indonesian government and 4ocean to protect the marine ecosystem.The 4ocean team that rescued the whale shark includes Abi Amanda Putra, Hendrik Prastyo, Ady Prasetyo, Achmad Hasan Izzudin, Dandi Rizki Asnanda, and Indra Dwi Pramono.


Despite initiatives to prevent the fish populations of the Indo-Pacific from declining further, major threats such as vessel strikes, pollution, boat traffic, overfishing of reef fish, and bycatch in nets persist. Our teams across the world initiate regular clean-ups to retrieve ghost nets, plastics, and other debris from oceans, rivers, and coastlines.

It's stories like these that inspired us to create the Ghost Net Bracelet. 

Our efforts, together with conservation strategies from governments and the cooperation of local residents, will aid in preserving marine life.

Protecting the world’s oceans, rivers, and coastlines has been 4ocean's mission since its inception in 2017. Abi's story and the countless support we receive from the 4ocean community inspire us to expand our operations in the years to come.


We’re always on the lookout for incredible stories from our community!
 Pitch yours to our team at stories@4ocean.com

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