Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are fish, not whales - allowing them to hold the esteemed title of "largest fish in the sea" (since sharks are fish too!). These charismatic creatures can reach lengths of 12 meters (40 feet) or more! Despite their large size, they feed on some of the smallest organisms in the sea, plankton. Hanging vertically in the water column they're able to suction feed and filter these tiny organisms through their gill rakers much like a giant vacuum cleaner pulls dust and dirt from a kitchen floor, filtering the fragments into its chamber within. Unfortunately, approximately 100 million sharks are killed every year by humans, through direct targeted fishing efforts as well as unintended bycatch from other fisheries. The whale shark is one species of shark that is particularly vulnerable to this commercial fishing due to their high value in international trade, in addition to their highly migratory nature and normally low abundance.