Mock and his team have been working on their largest sculpture yet, the project, a 12-meter long whale shark, has been created using over 40,000 tig welded stainless steel longline fish hooks as part of the Hooked On Life series. To realize this project, a three-headed team will be working full-time for 18 months.
It has always been Mock’s dream to create a sculpture of this magnitude. Ever since undergoing his divemaster in Mozambique in 2006 where he was regularly confronted with these magnificent animals under water, it became his mission to tell their story and help protect them.
The Whale shark is the largest of all sharks and by far the largest fish in the ocean. Whale sharks are aesthetically beautiful gentle filter-feeding giants and may reach lengths of up to 12, and even 18 meters. Its huge 30+ tonne bulk is mainly sustained by near-microscopic creatures of the sea: plankton, shrimp, and tiny fish.
These magnificent marine megafaunas also cover vast distances along habitual routes between the best feeding grounds. Some subpopulations may travel many thousands of kilometers between different continents to feed and find mates. Even though this mythical animal is huge, we still don’t know many fundamental things about them: Where do the adults go? How old do they get? What is their maximum length? Where do they mate? Where do they give birth?
Currently, the Whaleshark is listed by IUCN as endangered and the most recent scientific data tells us the species population has halved since the 1980’s. There are different threats to the various subpopulations but the main causes for this drastic population decline are targeted fisheries for their liver and fins (sharkfin soup), bycatch, (plastic) pollution and collisions with boats.
To help protect this iconic species and let the whale shark population recover we want to help gain more awareness for this beautiful gentle giant. We need much more scientific data and there is research to be done by dedicated individuals and organizations such as the Foundation for Marine Megafauna.
The creation of this sculpture will contribute to the protection of the whale shark by funding whale shark research and gaining publicity by carefully documenting the production process. The Whalshark sculpture will be created in a such a way so that it will swim through the space frozen in a natural swimming position making it look as though the viewer is gazing up from the ocean floor.
THE WHALE SHARK
Dimensions: 1200 x 450 x 400 cm
Material: 40.000 tig welded stainless steel longline fishhooks
Weight: 1100 kg (conservative estimate)
Creation Time: 18 months