A fisherman from Whenzhou, Zhejiang province pulled in a 5-ton fish suspected of being an endangered whale shark, ecns.cn reported today, which he said he caught “by accident” and sold.
Regulation states that whale sharks, the largest known extinct fish species, should be immediately set free if caught by fisherman and people are banned from selling it.
An investigation is being launched to confirm the species of the fish that was pulled i
n on Wednesday evening near Dongtou county by a fisherman named Zeng, who said the fish swam into his net along with the stream and that he and other fisherman didn’t see it until they dragged it ashore.
The fish died soon after it was pulled on land, after which, Zeng said he sold it at a ‘low price’.
Yesterday reports said a five-meter-long whale shark was auctioned off by fisherman at a harbor in Balochistan.
“Soon after its arrival, the fishermen cut it into pieces and auctioned it,” World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Pakistan director Rab Nawaz said in a Tribune report.
“This is an endangered species under the Convention of International Trade and Endangered Species,” he said. “But some cruel people killed it and sold its pieces at throwaway prices. There is no law in Pakistan to protect the shark and take action against the people who violate it.”
The whale shark is commonly found in Pakistan, where fins are often exported illegally to Hong Kong and China for shark fin soup.
“During the last eight months, four such entrapped whale sharks have been released by the fishermen following an awareness campaign started by WWF-Pakistan,” Muhammad Moazzam Khan, the former director-general of the fisheries department, said in the report. “We demand the government to make strict laws and take action against those who kill such endangered species.”
In January, a Chinese wildlife protection group discovered the “world’s biggest shark abattoir” along the coast of Zhejiang province, where more than 600 endangered sharks, including whale sharks, are reportedly processed each year.