Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center

Utila's Leaders in Marine Conservation

Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center

Since 1997, the Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center (WSORC) have been leaders in studying Utila’s visiting Whale Sharks. Their research has focused on the following:

  • Why Whale Sharks are attracted to Utila
  • When they most frequent these waters
  • The frequency at which they’ve visited the island over the years
  • The tourism industry’s impact on Whale Sharks

WSORC is the only non-profit to have been granted a research permit to study whale sharks by the Honduran Environmental Department. Their team established the Whale Shark Encounter Guidelines to promote responsible eco-tourism. In 2008, these guidelines passed through the Honduran parliament as the government made more efforts to protect the Whale Sharks from unsustainable tourism practices.

In addition to Whale Shark research, WSORC have focus on other areas of conservation as well. They have led studies and removal efforts of the invasive Lionfish species. Along with other non-profits on the island, they help maintain a coral nursery, study the health of the reef, and participate in numerous community engagement projects with the local schools.

During your stay at the Lodge, they will give you a presentation on Whale Sharks or any other topic you may be interested during the evening at the bar. If you’ve like to speak with any of the marine biologists on their own time, then you can visit their office Monday through Saturday from 9 to 5. Don’t be afraid to learn on your vacation!