Mote Marine scientists want reports of whale shark sightings off coast of Venice

Scientists say they are attempting to understand movement patterns

Published On: May 22 2013 10:44:23 AM EDT
VENICE, Fla -

Scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory are asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for the world's largest fish.

A whale shark was spotted May 8 about 20 miles off the coast of Venice.

The fish can be up to 42 feet long and nearly 24 tons.

The Herald-Tribune reports that Mote scientists are collecting reports of whale shark sightings to look for possible patterns to their movements in local waters.

The lab is asking anyone who spots a whale shark to call its Center for Shark Research at (941) 388-1827.

Scientists want spotters to note the number of sharks, the time, date and location.

These huge fish swim in various places in the Gulf of Mexico and sporadically visit Southwest Florida's coastal waters.