What we do

The Madagascar Whale Shark Project (MWSP) is a collaborative research and conservation project that was created in 2016, following unexpected high numbers of whale sharks recorded in 2015, thanks to opportunistic data collection by a partner tourism operator, les Baleines Rand’eau. In 2019 we became a registered foundation focusing on three key aspects.


Our main scientific objective is to establish the occurrence, residency and population structure of whale sharks off Nosy Be through photo-identification.
We also are collecting skin samples, investigating prey distribution and have previously satellite-tagged whale sharks.


We have implemented a code of conduct since 2017 and are collecting data on the socio-economic value of whale sharks. We also actively support the development of effective legal protection for whale sharks, as well as local management initiatives.


Community engagement is a key tenet of our work, and we currently work in various schools in Nosy Be through our education programme. We also lead workshops on sustainable whale shark interactions while in the field.

Get involved
Join us as a volunteer ! From September to December, we offer 18 or 21 day-long stays where you will be at sea collecting data on whale sharks. Update: We are currently not accepting volunteers in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Code of conduct
We are working directly with operators to ensure best-practice guidelines are followed during interactions with whale sharks in Madagascar, based on scientific publications studying the impact of tourism on whale shark behaviour.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners