It isn’t everyday that 50-year-old fisherman Liu from Baiqing village in Pingtan, Fujian finds a haul so huge he can’t pull it in. But last Saturday he had his encounter of a lifetime while he was out at sea in his daily stomping ground near the East Reef, between the Spratly Islands and the London Reefs in the South China Sea.
Upon taking a closer look at this giant hulk of a fish, Liu said he got a big shock. But when he subsequently attempted to let it go, he discovered the fish was already dead — so his story goes.
Back on land, local fishery officials confirmed the fish to be a gray whale, now critically endangered with a global population of just 20,000, and a “2nd class protected animal” in China. The fishery department is now working with the marine police to dispose of the carcass.
Back in 2007, when a whale shark was found off Guangdong, locals promptly cut it up and sold off its meat before the authorities came into the picture.