ECOCEAN carries out various educational outreach activities in Australia and overseas to ensure our core objective of increasing community awareness of the conservation status of the whale shark and its surrounding marine environment is achieved.


The ECOCEAN whale shark satellite tracking program has produced outstanding results over the years, helping to better understand the movement patterns of whale sharks from Ningaloo and along the western Australian coastline. This was open to schools to participate in the research and help to solve the mystery of whale sharks in 2017-2020 as part of an initiative called the ECOCEAN Race Around the World.

We are planning a bigger and broader program with schools throughout Australia in early 2024 and have teamed up with Murdoch University’s Harry Butler Institute – so get excited!

In 2024, the research will target large, mature whale sharks, and with the involvement of schools, may uncover whether or not older sharks and their younger counterparts embark on the same migration routes. We may even unlock the mystery of where these large sharks are moving offshore – perhaps to yet to be identified breeding grounds.

A ticket in the ‘Race’ will provide your school with a satellite tag and a whale shark to follow. The costs associated determine that it will cost the school, or a network $5 000 to have a tag put on a shark. From May to August 2024, ECOCEAN scientists will search for the perfect shark to tag for your school. The Race officially begins during National Science Week on Monday, 17 August 2024 and the tracks of the tagged sharks will be displayed on the ZoaTrack website and schools will able to track the journey of their whale shark.

Teachers and students will be able to use the ZoaTrack visualisation and analysis tools in their lessons and will have access to the ongoing tracking of the sharks.

Involvement in the race will support students and teachers to further develop their STEM capabilities, including: critical analysis and creative thinking, deepen their knowledge and understanding of the whale shark, the marine environment of Western Australia and scientific research. Teaching and learning resources developed by Statewide Services at the Department of Education are designed to support teachers and students to engage in innovative and interactive STEM learning activities.

In addition, ECOCEAN scientists will be available to deliver an online sessions for participating schools to share information and video footage as well as an online link up direct from the field with each participating school.

2024 Race Around the World expressions of interest closes on 23 of February 2024 – Payment due on 22 March 2024 – Race starts 17 August 2024 and ends 31 August 2024.

Finish line celebrations on 5 September.

Places are limited, start fundraising now!

For more information, please contact us.


Citizen science is scientific research conducted by volunteer community members, often partner with professional scientists to achieve common goals and allow them to accomplish tasks that would be too expensive or time consuming to accomplish through other means. They also allow professional scientists to have numerous people ‘on the ground’ to collect data when they can’t be everywhere at once.

The ECOCEAN citizen science program allows any member of the community to be involved in collecting important identification data on whale sharks. Citizen scientists across the world can take a photo of the spot patterns on the skin of a whale shark and enter the photo into the Wildbook for Whale Sharks (previously known as the ECOCEAN Whale Shark Photo-identification Library). ECOCEAN will then use this photo as a way to identify the whale shark, determine its movements and if it has been seen in the same area before.


Meet ‘Stumpy’ and his friends – some of the regular visitors to Ningaloo. Stumpy was first seen in 1995 and continues to return to Ningaloo on a regular basis. Click on the links below to take you to Wildbook and see what these whale sharks have been up to!



ECOCEAN heavily rely on volunteers to carry out a lot of our work. We encourage people with a keen interest in the marine environment, contribute to our core objectives of research, education and conservation.

For more information, please contact us.

Stumpy was named after his ‘stumpy tail’, a very distinguishable feature.